Standard measurables for NFL prospects

Cordarrelle Patterson (Brian Spurlock/USA Today)

What do NFL teams look for in a prototypical prospect? That depends on the position, but there is a general line of measurables – height, weight and speed – ideal for each position.

As free agency takes a respite, NFL teams are ears deep in the process of loading and stacking their draft boards. With national pundits now envisioning the white smoke once again emanating from Winter Park with the selection of Manti Te'o – yet another Golden Domer – the possibilities abound.

It begs the question, "What do NFL teams look for in position players?" While no two systems are identical, there is a standard for NFL draft prospects. Much like some don't believe in the NFL draft value chart – Viking Update has an example of on the site – when trades of draft picks are announced, they ironically match up almost exactly when one takes the time to do the math.

So what is a "prototypical" position player in the NFL?

These are the parameters. There are always those that defy the odds – Drew Brees comes immediately to mind – but, when it comes to a benchmark by which position college players are measured, these are the general parameters scouts view as standard-bearers.

The following are the "unofficial plausible deniability" numbers associated with position players. They are measured in height, weight and 40-yard dash time and, if someone exceeds or fails at any of those measures, it impacts their draft as much as any other categorical analysis. They say that the film never lies on players, but, if they don't meet or exceed these measurables, the film only helps make a case, not get a team to commit.

Quarterback – 6-foot, 3½ inches, 223 pounds and a 40 time of 4.8.

Running Back – 5-11¼, 220, 4.48.

Wide Receiver – 6-1, 203, 4.47.

Tight End – 6-4, 253, 4.75.

Offensive Tackle – 6-6, 319, 5.15.

Guard – 6-4¼, 312, 5.2.

Center – 6-3¼, 302, 5.2.

Defensive End – 6-4, 280, 4.8.

Defensive Tackle – 6-2¾, 307, 5.05.

Outside Linebacker – 6-3, 248, 4.65.

Inside Linebacker – 6-1½, 239, 4.7.

Cornerback – 5-11½, 192, 4.45.

Safety – 6-0½, 208, 4.5.

It's up to you whether you want to believe these numbers, but, when the opening night of the draft comes, the players selected will, for the most part, exceed these standardized norms. If they don't, there will be 10 minutes of explanation on NFL Network and ESPN why they have such talent that they can defy the odds and be NFL difference-makers.

As things currently stand, these are the standard units of measure that NFL organizations use as the blueprint for players. Believe it or not, they're true. As you make your way through the rumors and red herrings over the next month, keep in mind the prototypical measurables disclosed above are just as "mythical" as the draft trade value chart.

Some don't want to believe there is an accepted standard, but history typically says otherwise.


John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.

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