The Indianapolis Colts concluded draft weekend on Saturday, and after a robust twelve selections, one common theme once again carried ‘Days 1-3’: athleticism.
And a lot of it.
Using ‘Relative Athletic Score’ (RAS), which is a metric that takes into account a player’s height, weight, hand size, and drill results—to produce a composite individual valuation on a maximum of 10.0 scale (1-10), the Colts’ lowest scoring player was 8.48 in this year’s class:
The IndianapolRAS #Colts, as someone called them earlier, took only players with elite #RAS. And in general, not just elite, but like, top shelf elite. pic.twitter.com/lNvvTb9oX7— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) April 29, 2023
The average individual rookie RAS score for the Colts’ 2023 draft class: 9.48.
Further, even NFL ‘Next Gen Stats’ indicated that the 10 players of the Colts draft class, who were invited to this year’s NFL Combine, were tied for the most athletic group collectively using their ‘athleticism score’ since 2003:
Each of the @Colts' ten draft picks who were invited to the combine earned a NGS athleticism score of 75 or above, tied for the most in a team's draft class since 2003.— Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats) April 29, 2023
Which other teams emphasized high-end athletes in the 2023 NFL Draft?
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Look, it’s no surprise that general manager Chris Ballard, who’s always valued physical tools and high-end traits, once again selected a class of world-class uber-athletes.
Recent history has shown us that it’s a common theme under him for the Colts:
Like the Packers, but on steroids, the #Colts have not only prioritized athletic testing in their draft picks, they've practically made it a basic requirement. No more evident than 2022, where their WORST athlete was a 9.24 #RAS 7th round pick. pic.twitter.com/vjdLcRMd3m— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) April 27, 2023
However, it’s still intriguing to see to what exact extent.
The NFL Draft can often be a crapshoot—particularly in the mid-late rounds where there are a lot of variables in play that can often ‘sink or swim’ an NFL hopeful. In that sense, Ballard is banking on that his rookies’ high-end athleticism—with the proper coaching, will ultimately win the day and better ensure their respective success at the next level.
From Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson with the fourth overall pick to Northern Michigan’s Jake Witt with the 236th pick, Ballard believes that athleticism is king—and in a gridiron game that features so much speed, strength, and physicality, he may not be wrong.
If there is a hill to die on, top-notch athleticism may not be a bad one to go out on.