The NFL consists of tremendous athletes who each year, get bigger, faster and stronger. NFL franchises are always on the lookout for the next great athlete. The NFL draft is like a schmorgous board of the most gifted athletes in the world.
Draft eligible players are put through a battery of tests, including the combine. These tests are orchestrated to determine a prospects physical abilities. The players who test well usually see their draft stock rise. This lust for athletic talent puts a focus on the explosiveness of each player.
The term explosive has a different meaning for each position. The explosiveness of a wide receiver is measured differently than that of an offensive lineman. Yes, there are plenty of offensive linemen that play with a lot of explosiveness.
For me, an explosive player is pretty easy to identify. He usually stands out from the rest of the players on the field. These players tend to always be a step ahead of everyone else.
I look for two specific things when trying to measure explosiveness: a player's first step and second gear. A football player needs to quickly get off the ball. This is about timing, but also about the ability to explode out of your stance. A quick first step is important for every position on the football field. It is what allows defensive linemen to penetrate the pocket while also allowing receivers to get into their routes. A player who lacks a quick first step will always be at a disadvantage.
A good athlete also possesses a second gear: that ability to accelerate. Having a good second gear is something that separates good athletes from great athletes. That second gear is what allows running backs to break off long runs, while also allowing defenders to close on the football.
The upcoming slides will breakdown some of the most explosive 2012 NFL draft prospects.