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What do NFL Teams Consider when Drafting a CB or Edge?

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With the NFL draft coming, you may wonder, what do teams look at when they are drafting players? The honest answer is that it depends on the position.  There are different stats that teams look at when evaluating new talent. The two main positions the Buffalo Bills are looking at in the draft are cornerbacks and edge rushers.

Important Measures for Cornerbacks

With cornerbacks, the most important thing that teams look at in the combine is position drills. Defensive backs complete change of direction drills, ball-hawking drills, and have to backpedal well.  The most important drill is a speed-turn drill.  During this drill, they start in a backpedal, change direction to run toward the coach then go back into backpedal and have to be able to maintain vision of where the ball is being thrown and catch it. This is a huge drill for this group because it shows their form and how well they pivot. Other important measures for defensive backs are the forty-yard dash and the 20-yard shuffle.  The shuffle is important because it showcases change in direction and how well they can flip their hips.  The average time is 4.47. Finally, the things teams look at the most when scouting DBs are their tape and production.

What gives Edge Rushers their edge

For edge rushers, teams are looking for a completely different set of skills. The most important drill for them is punch and rip. In that drill, the defensive linemen line up against weighted bags that they fire their hands into and use the rip move to get around multiple other bags. This drill is important because it showcases how fast they fire their hands, their change of direction, and how well they take pursuit angles. Some other important tests are the three-cone drill and bench press. The three-cone drill is all about change of direction and being able to maintain speed while doing it. The average scores for this are 7.23 seconds for this group. Rushers are going against some of the strongest players in the NFL and need to be able to compete with that. This is where the bench test comes in. The average score for this position group is 24.29 reps of 225 lbs. Vertical and broad jump are also important because most of an edge rusher’s power comes from their legs.

All of the other tests and drills are important as well; they show off different skills that can help players later in their careers. The numbers alone don’t tell the full story of a player’s potential. Players continue to develop after the draft.

Below are the average scores on the major tests in the NFL combine for cornerbacks and defensive ends:

Position40-timeVertical20-yard shuttleBroad Jump3-cone drillBench press
Cornerback4.47 seconds36.26 inches4.18 seconds121.9 inches6.88 seconds14.94 reps
Edge Rusher4.81 seconds33.5 inches4.42 seconds114.97 inches7.23 seconds24.29 reps
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