Some intriguing offensive line targets for the New York Jets emerged on Friday
Many of the drills run at the NFL Scouting Combine are considered useless by a sizable portion of the football community, as some of them do not mirror on-field actions that players actually need to execute in the game. And that’s a fair claim. Offensive linemen will never need to run 40 yards in a straight line, for instance.
With that being said, the results of these drills can be used to form trends that help us identify prospects with a noticeably greater or lesser chance of panning out.
Josh Norris of Underdog Fantasy identified an incredibly strong Combine trend for offensive linemen. He found that O-linemen who post a time of 4.47 seconds or better in the short shuttle have an extraordinarily high hit rate in the NFL draft, regardless of the round they are drafted in.
Your team should target every OL prospect that runs a sub-4.47 short shuttle
Over the last 10 years, only 24 players have hit that time at the Combine
They combined to start 84% of their career games, including gems like Kelce, Paradis & Leno
— Josh Norris (@JoshNorris) February 28, 2022
Despite only featuring 21 drafted players, that list is stacked with quality offensive linemen. Studs like Nate Solder, Jake Matthews, Anthony Castonzo, Joel Bitonio, Eric Fisher, Ali Marpet, and James Daniels stand out amongst the 12 sub-4.47 runners who were picked in the first or second round.
Even the sub-4.47 runners who were picked in the sixth and seventh rounds have seen a tremendous likelihood of success. Jason Kelce, Matt Paradis, Chase Roullier, Charles Leno, and David Quessenbery were all selected after the fifth round and went on to become NFL starters.
All of those successful picks out of less than two-dozen selections is a remarkable hit rate. When trends this strong emerge from the Combine, they are worth putting stock into.
So, who in the 2022 draft class was able to join this high-upside club?
The offensive linemen took the field in Indianapolis on Friday. Four players were able to join the sub-4.47 club (times are official):
- Abraham Lucas, OT, Washington St. (4.40)
- Kellen Diesch, OT, Arizona St. (4.43)
- Zion Johnson, IOL, Boston College (4.46)
- Zach Tom, OT, Wake Forest (4.47)
Johnson is the most highly regarded prospect of the four. He is the 29th-ranked overall prospect on NFL Mock Draft Database’s consensus big board. Lucas follows at 85th. Diesch comes in at 109th and Tom sits at 213th.
We know that the scheme of New York Jets offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur strongly values athleticism in its offensive linemen – it’s deeply rooted in the history of the Shanahan system – so these four prospects placed themselves squarely on New York’s radar with their displays of swiftness in Indy.