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2019 NFL Draft: Ranking all 32 draft classes by athleticism

A look at which teams got more athletic over the weekend.

NCAA Football: Wisconsin Pro Day Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

With the draft and undrafted free agency in the rear view, I’m ready to put a bow on the theatrics and move on to the next phase of the offseason. The build up to minicamp, OTAs, and eventually training camp is always exciting and fun. Just thinking of all the possibilities and imagining how the team will look in 2019 gives that perennial hope that this is the year.

In regards to the draft, I’m going to take one final look at Relative Athletic Scores and the class as a whole before that work moves primarily to my own site. To wrap it all up, we’re going to take a final look at the draft from a team perspective, by ranking all 32 teams by how they fared in the draft as it pertains to the athletic ability of their prospects. Nice and clean, we’re going just by the average of their classes.

Note: You may notice that there are two scores, ATRAS and RAS and that they are the same. ATRAS refers to all time RAS and for 2019 players will be the same as their RAS. These numbers will normally differ for other years.

1. Chargers - 8.63

The Chargers have been fairly athlete heavy in each of their previous drafts, so it’s not surprising they went heavy once again. You’d have to go back to 2014 to find a Chargers draft class that wasn’t full of top athletes and that class was... not very good.

2. Saints - 8.61

The Saints were closer to the middle of the pack than the top last season, but they maximized their picks this year since they had so few. The only non-elite athlete was only just short of that 8.00 elite threshold.

3. Packers - 8.5

Prior to 2015, the Packers weren’t averse to gambling on below average athletes with their picks, but from 2015 to 2019 they have consistently picked top athletes, averaging over 8.00 for RAS in each season over that span.

4. Broncos - 8.32

The Broncos had one of the lowest rated classes for RAS in 2018, picking three elite athletes to start their draft and then five of six that were 6.15 or lower. They were similarly low rated in 2017 and 2015, with a brief spike in 2016. This isn’t a team that has adhered strictly to top athletic talent with their mid and late round picks. They did so in 2019, however, landing them here.

5. Colts - 8.25

In the years preceding 2018, the Colts had been near the middle and bottom of these rankings before jumping near the top last season. They stay with top athletes in 2019 despite having no first-round picks and a high volume of selections, landing them inside the top five.

5. Browns - 8.25

For years, the Browns were a team that would minmax. They’d take guys at each extreme of the spectrum without blinking, taking risks with most of their picks. The last two seasons saw them prioritizing athleticism, however, landing them higher in each season on these rankings.

7. Falcons - 7.97

The Falcons were near the top of these rankings in 2015, but have been nearer the bottom between then and now. Picking up four top-tier athletic talents early in this one landed them seventh overall here.

8. Buccaneers - 7.97

The Buccaneers have been bouncing all over these rankings since 2015, so they haven’t held down much of a consistent trend. Picking four athletes who were ranked near the top of their position group in the class certainly helped their score here.

9. Vikings - 7.97

The Vikings are no strangers to taking risks on low-testing athletes with their early picks, taking Irv Smith in Round 2 this season and taking Dalvin Cook and Laquon Treadwell with their first picks in consecutive years. Still, they tend to select top athletes at most positions which is why they rank so highly this year.

10. Giants - 7.94

The Giants had been close to the middle and bottom of these rankings from 2015-2017 before jumping closer to the top with their supremely athletic 2018 draft class. They continue that trend here, even taking an extremely athletic quarterback with their first pick.

11. Eagles - 7.92

Having had the most athletic offensive line in the NFL for the better part of a decade, is it really surprising the Eagles took a top athlete at tackle early? Aside from the 2017 class, where the Eagles took risks with almost every selection, ranking near the bottom for RAS, the Eagles are generally right around this range or higher.

12. Patriots - 7.8

Except for the 2015 class, the Patriots are generally ranked near the middle or top for RAS, a trend that continues here.

13. Raiders - 7.74

The Raiders mixed up their draft with a combination of high upside, but raw athletes like Maxx Crosby and Foster Moreau along with riskier prospects like Josh Jacobs and Hunter Renfrow.

14. Chiefs - 7.62

The Chiefs are not very risk averse, but tend to lean towards athletically gifted players. That they only selected one player who rated below average athletically and he was only just below is a good indication of how much they like higher-tier athletes.

15. 49ers - 7.56

Yes, drafting an athletic punter raises the average a little bit, but even ignoring him, the 49ers only drafted one player who rated below average athletically while picking up three other elite athletes.

16. Texans - 7.33

Tytus Howard was a risky gamble for a number of reasons, and his athletic profile was one of them. The team went with athletes all over the spectrum in this one, but with so few picks there’s not much to read into.

17. Seahawks - 7.32

With one of the riskiest Round 1 picks, the Seahawks showed they weren’t afraid of the numbers if they think the guy fits. They picked up seven elite athletes despite their average being lower, so plenty of toolsy guys with some riskier ones peppered in.

18. Redskins - 7.22

Taking a quarterback with a low RAS isn’t that big of a deal, but it pulled the score down a bit. Though it’s only middle of the road, this average is significantly higher (5.78) than the team scored last year.

19. Bengals 7.12

The Bengals averaged a higher RAS this year than last (6.33), but a bit lower than the year before that (8.34). Their patterns vary from year to year.

20. Rams - 7.03

This is actually the highest average RAS for a Rams draft class since 2013 and they’ve normally rated at or near the bottom of the league when averaging their draft class.

20. Cowboys - 7.03

While the Cowboys used to be all in on athletes, the past couple years they’ve ranked right around this range, middle of the league.

22. Jets - 6.9

The Jets are gambling that Jachai Polite’s reported hamstring injury is the reason for such poor metrics, and he drags down their overall score here. In general, the Jets have averaged quite a bit higher over the past few seasons.

23. Dolphins - 6.82

Averaging 8.92 last season, the Jets tumbled in the rankings with this class. Though only one guy rated below average, in a smaller draft class that can bring down the average quite a bit. It’s not quite as low as their 2017 draft class, where first round pick Charles Harris (4.26) set the tone for the rest of the class.

24. Jaguars - 6.8

Since 2016, the Jaguars have generally been near the middle to top of the draft classes, but fell quite a bit lower this year. They only took two elite athletes, with each of their remaining picks contributing to a lower score for the class as a whole.

25. Titans - 6.79

The Titans don’t have a lot of picks here, and two of them didn’t measure due to injuries. That makes a score like their last pick stand out a lot more.

26. Ravens - 6.75

The Ravens have never been shy about taking risks on guys with lower athletic metrics. Sometimes they hit, like they did with Terrell Suggs, sometimes they miss, like with Matt Elam and Michael Oher. But they take more risks than any franchise. They had one of the lowest scores in three of the last five years.

27. Lions - 6.47

Under general manager Martin Mayhew, the team often ended up with one of the lowest average RAS of the draft classes, averaging below 7.00 in all but two of his draft classes. This class has the lowest average RAS of any of general manager Bob Quinn’s classes, though the average is impacted heavily by the last two selections.

28. Cardinals - 6.26

The Cardinals average was near the bottom of the league in 2015-2016 and near the top in 2017-2018. This class ended up near the bottom of this ranking due to a high volume of middling picks rather than an excess of below average or a lack of top tier athletes.

29. Chicago Bears - 6.19

The Bears didn’t have a lot of picks so not getting an elite athlete until their last two picks really dropped their average. The Bears were near the top in the league last season, but in their smaller 2017 draft class they ended up in a similar spot as this year.

30. Panthers - 5.94

The Panthers have averaged near the bottom of the league for the past several seasons, only averaging over 7.00 one time in the past decade, so this class isn’t an anomaly.

31. Bills - 5.44

The past several classes have been averaging fairly high for the Bills, so this was a bit of a departure for how they’ve been drafting. Though they took one of the best athletes in the draft class in Ed Oliver, the rest of their class wasn’t as impressive athletically.

32. Steelers - 5.27

Since 2015, the Steelers have averaged a RAS less than 6.00 in three of those five classes. They regularly take risks on players with lower athletic scores, so seeing them at the bottom here isn’t a shock. They take risks on super athletic linebackers, but lineman and running backs tend to be at the lower end of the spectrum.

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