NFL Draft 2013: Ranking the Best Offensive Linemen

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NFL Draft 2013: Ranking the Best Offensive Linemen
Scott Halleran/Getty Images
Who are best offensive linemen?

The NFL Scouting Combine was characterized by astonishing athleticism, blazing speed and incredible agility. The draft prospects are getting bigger, faster and stronger. Nowhere was that more evident than with the offensive linemen. But who really are the best prospects? 

There are lots of ways to measure QBs, RBs and WRs. QB ratings, completion rates, yards per carry and receptions are but a few of the myriad of measures we have for those positions. But there are far fewer objective measures for selecting offensive linemen.

Gone are the days when size alone was the most important factor in selecting linemen. Today's players are not only huge, they are also amazingly athletic. This increase in athleticism makes evaluating offensive linemen more challenging than ever. 

There is usually an inverse relationship between size and athleticism. Typically, the biggest players are not the most agile. What makes for an ideal offensive lineman in today's NFL is having both superior athletic ability and size.

While watching the combine I had difficulty objectively ranking offensive linemen. The agility and strength drills provide a measure of athleticism, but not size. What's needed is a way to measure both. So I began experimenting with formulas and came up with something that I think is quite intriguing, a novel metric for measuring athleticism and size—the agility to size index.

Quite simply, if you take the bench press results add them to the vertical and broad jump, subtract the 40-yard dash, three-cone drill and 20-yard shuttle times, you get an nice measure of agility, speed and strength. 

Where it gets really interesting though is when you divide that measure the body mass index. This produces a metric that captures athleticism and size in a single measure. It tells you how much athleticism you get for every unit of mass.

I plugged the numbers into the formula and got some surprising results. Some of the top draft prospects did not fare as well in this particular analysis.

A few caveats are in order. Not all the linemen participated in all the drills, so for the purpose of this analysis, I only included those who completed in each of the exercises.

Second, this is just one measure. On-field performance, experience and intangibles matter just as much. But I think the agility to size index might just be a valuable new tool for evaluating offensive linemen.

The results may surprise you. Let's see which draft prospects have the best results in the agility to size index.

All results via NFL.com.

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