Part two of Joe Landers’ study on the relevance of the NFL Combine takes a hard look at the notion of EPA (Exceeding Peer Average) and the idea that one single athletic attribute can lead a young prospect to success, but that an understanding of the correlative combinations in reference to one’s peer group is a better predictor over the long run.
Here’s the link to Part 1 if you missed it – Seeking to find the relevance of the NFL Combine.
The Football Educator
Relevance of the Combine
Physical Attribute Testing and NFL Success
By Joe Landers
EPA – Exceeding Peer Average
As you can see in the below table, there are only a few positions where an EPA count is statistically conclusive. At OT, for example, 31% of the 2013 starters EPA’d in 4 categories. The next closest was 15% with 0. That’s a considerable gap. WR also has an equally considerable gap for those that EPA’d in 4 categories. FB and S have smaller, but decent gaps. The rest of the positions have multiple EPA counts that are 20-24% with none clearly standing out. The top counts are bolded.
ASC – Attribute Success Correlation
Below are the averages for the top-3 attributes, by position, and the propensity (1st%) for 2013 starting-caliber NFL players to EPA in that attribute.
OFFENSE – ASC
DEFENSE – ASC
None of the above is intended to suggest that teams should only take players that meet EPA in the top-3 attributes for each position. For example, Storm Johnson ran a 4.60 at the 2014 Combine. If he EPAs in the Short Shuttle, 3-Cone, Broad Jump, and Vertical, then it diminishes the importance of him running a 4.60 and not beating the 4.557 nine-year average. No attribute is the gateway to NFL success, but together, NFL productivity numbers tracked backwards to attribute testing show us what is most and least important.