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Track Meet: High School Performance and the RotoViz Scouting Index

As I’ve been updating the RotoViz Scouting Index, I’ve been looking for other bits of data to cross reference. Since we haven’t had pro days or the NFL combine yet, there’s not much to go on…or is there?

Tracking Football has a large database of high school data. The information is interesting, and might even have value for those who play in Devy leagues. I think there are two reasons this information is interesting. First, just to look for players that played multiple sports in high school. In the 2015 NFL draft:

NFL teams selected 256 players. Of those, 224 played multiple sports in high school. That’s 88 percent, including No. 1 overall pick Jameis Winston and 27 other first-round picks. Only four first-round picks didn’t play more than one sport.

More than a third – 94 of the 256 – played three sports in high school.

That’s very straightforward, and seems like a useful bit of information. Secondly, there’s probably some relationship between a player’s high school athletic performance and eventual combine/pro day performance. I don’t know what that relationship is, so there aren’t any takeaways here other than just that the numbers are interesting.

To illustrate what I’m talking about, here are the running backs from the RotoViz Scouting Index, with high school 100 meter sprint percentile ranks.

PlayerScore RankMulti Sport?Sports100 M Sprint
Ezekiel Elliott1YesTrack, Basketball70
Derrick Henry2YesTrack, Basketball57
C.J. Prosise5YesTrack, Basketball67
Kenyan Drake6YesTrack, Baseball80
Paul Perkins8YesTrack61
Jordan Howard9YesTrack, Basketball23
Jonathan Williams10YesTrack52
Josh Ferguson11YesTrack59
Kelvin Taylor13YesTrack40
Kareem Hunt14YesTrack, Basketball82
Devon Johnson15YesTrack13
Tyler Ervin18YesTrack32
Keith Marshall20YesTrack96
Deandre Washington22YesTrack57
Daniel Lasco40YesTrack84

That table shows the player, their RotoViz Scouting Index rank, high school sports (other than football), and the percentile rank of their best recorded high school performance vs. all other RBs in Tracking Football’s database.

Interesting to see that Derrick Henry is much slower than Ezekiel Elliott (10.95 vs. 11.11 100M sprint time). Elliott also posted a 92nd percentile score in the 110M high hurdles, which would seem to measure both speed and explosion. Only two other RBs in our scouting index had a high hurdles score: Paul Perkins (73rd percentile) and Aaron Green (82nd percentile).

Some other interesting scores: in the triple jump, Jonathan Williams posted a 92nd percentile score and Aaron Green an 88th percentile score. Kareem Hunt had a 92nd percentile score in the high jump. Those numbers might relate to the vertical and broad jump, and maybe suggest these players are particularly explosive.

As I said, this is mostly just “interesting,” and not really indicative of anything unless or until someone does the legwork to compare high school to combine/pro day numbers. But just for fun, here are some of the high school percentile numbers for some of the better RBs in the NFL right now.

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Doug Martin and Charles Sims look slow, but post good high jump numbers (71st and 70th percentile respectively). Arian Foster has apparently always been an enigma.

Here are some more percentile ranks for this year’s prospects. And check out Tracking Football for more interesting stuff.

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