NFL Draft 2022: Relative Athletic Score Standouts at Every Position

One of my favorite tools to use during the draft evaluation process is the Relative Athletic Score (RAS). This statistic is compiled by Kent Lee Platte (Twitter: @MathBomb) and Eric Watkins (Twitter: @StatManEric). It essentially sets an aggregate score from 1-10 for the athletic measurables set forth by NFL prospects compared to their peers at their position. RAS measures everything from fundamental measurables like height and weight to combine testing numbers like the 40-yard dash, 3-cone drill, and vertical jump. In this article, I’m selecting one RAS standout at each position and highlighting how their elite athletic testing contributes to their draft evaluation.

All of these statistics are available at https://ras.football/

Quarterback: Desmond Ridder, Cincinnati

Relative Athletic Score: 9.6

Athletic measurables are arguably less important for a quarterback than they are for any other position – Tom Brady’s RAS came in at 2.74 overall, ranking him 155th out of 212 quarterbacks from 1987 to 2000. However, Ridder’s numbers are impressive nonetheless. Ridder stands out with a 4.52-second 40-yard dash (99th percentile), a 36-inch vertical jump (96th percentile), and a 127-inch broad jump (99th percentile). Ridder is projected as a Day 2 pick. Still, his elite athletic testing, exceptional leadership traits, and command of a high-level offense at Cincinnati could see him land in the back end of the first round.

Honorable Mentions: Kenny Pickett (9.52), EJ Perry (9.43)

View Desmond Ridder’s RAS profile here

Running Back: Breece Hall, Iowa State

Relative Athletic Score: 9.95

Breece Hall’s testing blew the rest of the running back position out of the water. There were questions about Hall’s top-end speed profile, but his 4.39-second 40-yard dash (97th percentile) put those to rest. Hall also came through with a 40-inch vertical jump (97th percentile) and a 126-inch broad jump (93rd percentile). After putting together three seasons of elite production at Iowa State, Hall is a proven workhorse running back whose athletic testing drew comparisons to Edgerrin James, according to the RAS website. He might be the one running back to sneak into the first round.

Honorable Mentions: Rachaad White (9.87), Pierre Strong Jr. (9.34), Kenneth Walker III (9.24), Zamir White (9.02)

View Breece Hall’s RAS profile here

Wide Receiver: Christian Watson, North Dakota State

Relative Athletic Score: 9.96

Christian Watson is one of the most exciting prospects to project in this class. He played against middling FCS competition at North Dakota State and never had more than 800 yards in a season over four years. However, according to the RAS website, the 6’5”, 208-lb wide receiver’s measurables grade is similar to Calvin Johnson and Julio Jones. In particular, his 136-inch broad jump (99th percentile) and 4.36-second 40-yard dash (97th percentile) were truly remarkable results for his size. As Watson transitions to the NFL, there may be some growing pains, but his athletic upside with his size, speed, and strength is immense.

Honorable Mentions: Kevin Austin (9.93), Alec Pierce (9.8), Calvin Austin III (9.43), George Pickens (9.33)

View Christian Watson’s RAS profile here

Tight End: Jelani Woods, Virginia

Relative Athletic Score: 10

There were a handful of prospects in this year’s draft class to score a 10 in their RAS, but Jelani Woods may have been the most surprising. Woods had a one-year breakout at Virginia after transferring from Oklahoma State, and his athletic testing suggests that breakout may be more sustainable than some originally thought. Woods tested with elite scores in all three of RAS’s composite explosion, speed, and agility grades, and he broke the high score in several categories for this tight end class at his pro day. At 6’7”, 259 lbs, he has the type of upside worth taking a shot on as soon as Day 2 despite his lack of polish.

Honorable Mentions: Daniel Bellinger (9.64), Charlie Kolar (9.11), Greg Dulcich (8.17)

View Jelani Woods’s RAS profile here

Offensive Tackle: Trevor Penning, Northern Iowa

Relative Athletic Score: 9.96

This offensive tackle class tested exceptionally well across the athletic measurables at the combine, but Trevor Penning takes the cake for the most athletic tackle in the draft. Penning’s 4.89-second 40-yard dash (98th percentile) was incredibly impressive at his size of 6’7”, 325 lbs and his 3-cone drill of 7.25 seconds (99th percentile) would have rated above-average for defensive ends. I’ve been in the camp of Charles Cross and Bernhard Raimann being better than Penning, but these results made me rethink my stance quite a bit.

Honorable Mentions: Bernhard Raimann (9.87), Kellen Diesch (9.74), Abraham Lucas (9.72), Zach Tom (9.71)

View Trevor Penning’s RAS profile here

Interior Offensive Line: Cole Strange, Chattanooga

Relative Athletic Score: 9.95

You can make the case that athleticism isn’t as important as lower body strength, vision, and technique for interior offensive linemen. Still, according to the RAS database, Strange’s testing numbers were comparable to Evan Mathis, Ali Marpet, and Joe Thuney. Strange’s 5.03-second 40-yard dash (94th percentile), 120-inch broad jump (99th percentile), 4.5-second short shuttle (95th percentile), and 7.44-second 3-cone drill (96th percentile) put him in rarified air. Strange might be just a two-star recruit, but his high-level motor, balance, intelligence, and elite athletic testing have boosted his stock to a surefire Day 2 pick.

Honorable Mentions: Zion Johnson (9.74), Jason Poe (9.58), Chris Paul (9.43), Dylan Parham (9)

View Cole Strange’s RAS profile here

Defensive End: Travon Walker, Georgia

Relative Athletic Score: 9.99

Travon Walker has risen from borderline first-round pick to surefire top-five selection over the past couple of months, and it’s primarily due to his all-time combine results. Myles Garrett is the only other edge prospect to grade at a 9.99 over the past decade. Walker wasn’t a highly productive pass-rusher at Georgia, but a 1.54-second 10-yard split in the 40-yard dash (99th percentile) showed his elite short-area speed. His 40-yard dash as a whole was 4.51 seconds (99th percentile). Walker also tested with a 6.89-second 3-cone (97th percentile) and a 123-inch broad jump (92nd percentile). Recently there has been buzz surrounding Walker as a dark-horse name for the first-round pick, and with his elite athletic upside, NFL teams will have high hopes for the high-level player they can mold Walker into.

Honorable Mentions: Boye Mafe (9.91), Aidan Hutchinson (9.87), Kayvon Thibodeaux (9.7), Jermaine Johnson (9.6)

View Travon Walker’s RAS profile here

Defensive Tackle: Jordan Davis, Georgia

Relative Athletic Score: 10

There must have been something in the water in Athens because Travon Walker, Jordan Davis, and Devonte Wyatt have all put together all-time numbers through pre-draft testing. Davis didn’t participate in agility testing (shuttle and 3-cone), but his 4.78-second 40-yard dash at 6’6”, 342 lbs was unheard of. It was the tenth-best 40-yard dash time of any defensive tackle since 1999, and there have been many defensive tackles much smaller than Davis. He also tested with a 99th percentile 123-inch broad jump, and his linear athleticism will make him one of the most highly coveted defensive players in the draft this year.

Honorable Mentions: Logan Hall (9.82), Devonte Wyatt (9.56), Travis Jones (9.39)

View Jordan Davis’s RAS profile here

Linebacker: Troy Andersen, Montana State

Relative Athletic Score: 10

Three linebackers in the past decade have tested with a 10 in their RAS – Troy Andersen, Lorenzo Carter, and Luke Kuechly. Of course, Kuechly became one of the best NFL linebackers of all time. Andersen hasn’t been playing linebacker for very long – he was an all-conference quarterback in 2018 – but these athletic numbers suggest incredible upside if he can develop better technique and instincts over time. In particular, his 4.42-second 40-yard dash (99th percentile) and 128-inch broad jump (97th percentile) were elite results.

View Troy Andersen’s RAS profile here

Linebacker: Leo Chenal, Wisconsin

Relative Athletic Score: 9.99

I’m cheating here, but I couldn’t write this article without including Andersen and Chenal. Leo Chenal put up 34 bench reps (99th percentile) with ease while registering a 4.53-second 40-yard dash (95th percentile) and a 40.5-inch vertical (99th percentile). His RAS profile card is filled with nothing but green, which confirms what we see on film. Chenal is a beast at 6’3” with 250 lbs of lean mass, and he flies around the football field to deliver bone-crushing hits. These athletic numbers should see him be one of the top linebackers off the board this year.

View Leo Chenal’s RAS profile here

Linebacker: Brandon Smith, Penn State

Relative Athletic Score: 9.98

Yes, there’s a third linebacker on this list. How could I not put all three elite athletes in the article? For context, there have been seven linebackers to record a RAS of 9.98 or better in the past decade. Three of those seven are in this draft class. For further context, all three of Andersen, Chenal, and Smith beat Isaiah Simmon’s RAS of 9.97 and T.J. Watt’s RAS of 9.92. Smith tested with elite numbers in all three of the explosion, speed, and agility categories, with his most impressive finish coming in the broad jump with a 97th percentile of 128 inches. Smith is a former five-star recruit whose on-field production hasn’t caught up with his elite athleticism. NFL evaluators will be taking a gamble on that finally happening.

Honorable Mentions: Damone Clark (9.86), Drake Jackson (9.83), Darrian Beavers (9.75), Chad Muma (9.74)

View Brandon Smith’s RAS profile here

Cornerback: Tariq Woolen, UTSA

Relative Athletic Score: 9.68

Some cornerbacks finished with better RAS results this year, but Tariq Woolen is worth highlighting, given he has recently been skyrocketing up draft boards. Woolen has been mocked as high as the second round by some after his 99th percentile 4.26-second 40-yard dash became the third-best result of any cornerback since 1999. Woolen also finished with a 42-inch vertical (99th percentile) and drew elite grades in explosion and speed. His numbers compare favorably to elite cornerbacks in Jalen Ramsey and Marshon Lattimore, per the RAS database.

Honorable Mentions: Zyon McCollum (10), Damarri Mathis (9.7), Martin Emerson (8.44)

View Tariq Woolen’s RAS profile here

Safety: Lewis Cine, Georgia

Relative Athletic Score: 9.9

Cine is yet another Georgia defender on this list with the sixth-best RAS finish over the past decade. A 4.37-second 40-yard dash and 1.45-second 10-yard split (both 99th percentile) got him noticed for his excellent speed and closing acceleration, while his 133-inch broad jump (98th percentile) also put him in elite company. Cine reads the game exceptionally well and is a sound tackler with NFL-caliber physicality. It wouldn’t be shocking to see him land in the back of the first round with these athletic numbers.

Honorable Mentions: Nick Cross (9.91), Dane Belton (9.37), Kyle Hamilton (9.28)

View Lewis Cine’s RAS profile here

I've been a huge sports fan for as long as I can remember and I've always loved writing. In 2020, I joined the Lineups team, and I've been producing written and video content on football and basketball ever since. In May 2021, I graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in sport management. My goal is to tell enthralling stories and provide meaningful insight on the sports I write about while helping you cash some bets along the way.

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