Reviewing the Relative Athletic Score of past Falcons drafts

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Kent Lee Platte is the NFL Analytics Director and Applications Development for Pro Football Network and designed the formula over the past half-decade that provides a metric that can easily and intuitively gauge a player’s athletic abilities relative to the position they play. Using the data of the past four drafts, we can analyze the Falcons’ tendencies as an organization before Terry Fontenot and then compare the RAS of the Saints’ past drafts.

Last year’s draft class, outside of Marlon Davidson, were considered elite athletes at their position — Jaylinn Hawkins and Sterling Hofrichter’s data was insufficient. AJ Terrell and Mykal Walker showed their rookie year they belong. Matt Hennessey and Davidson didn’t have the opportunity to get their feet under themselves, but given Hennessey’s upper-percentile RAS, there is reason to believe he can turn into a valuable contributor to this team.

The 2019 class was even more consistent with the more athletic prospects. The first four picks — Chris Lindstrom, Kaleb McGary, Kendall Sheffield, and John Cominsky — posted an elite RAS. The jury is out on the latter two, but Lindstrom and McGary are both positively progressing, though at different rates. The regime in 2017 and 2018 went with a far riskier approach to the draft, selecting prospects with RAS all over the place — some elite, some average, some poor.

The last regime clearly didn’t value one thing in particular, but Terry Fontenot came from the Saints, so we will look at their draft history of RAS from the past four years to better understand where he’s been so we can guess where he’s going.

As you can see, Micky Loomis and the Saints value athleticism; there is a minimal deviation from the average RAS of New Orleans’ drafts. The now infamous 2017 draft had the Saints select six elite RAS that all turned into valuable contributors in one way or the other. I would expect Fontenot to follow a similar strategy in the draft tonight, as it has been a proven formula for sustained success, i.e., the Packers, who fill its roster with athletes and increase the odds of prospects becoming successful NFL players.


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