Lunchbreak: Another Athleticism Metric for Comparing Corners

Mike Zimmer frequently reminds reporters that a team can never have enough corners.

He did so a year ago when Minnesota tabbed Mike Hughes with the 30th overall pick. He reinforced the message after Hughes delivered a pick six in his NFL debut, becoming Minnesota’s only rookie to accomplish the feat in his first pro game.

Unfortunately for the Vikings, Hughes suffered a torn ACL in Week 6, bringing a promising campaign to a screeching halt.

Hughes and Trae Waynes (first round) and Mackensie Alexander (second round) have all been added with early picks since Zimmer’s arrival. The DB guru also helped develop 2013 first-round pick Xavier Rhodes into a Pro Bowler and All-Pro.

Matthew Coller of SKOR North noted the importance of cornerback play to both participants in Super Bowl LIII on his way to writing about an athleticism metric that has been developed by website Relative Athletic Score.

The New England Patriots were widely praised for their defensive scheme against the Los Angeles Rams in the Super Bowl, but talent and depth at the defensive back position certainly played a role. Pro Football Focus ranked the Patriots No. 2 in coverage in the NFL only behind the Chicago Bears, who sported the league’s best defense. The Rams, who slowed down Drew Brees and the Saints in the NFC Championship, had the fourth best coverage grade by PFF’s metrics.

Relative Athletic Score combines height, weight and wingspan with performance at the NFL Scouting Combine to grade athleticism on a scale of 1 to 10.

Waynes has the highest RAS among current Vikings at 8.58, followed by Rhodes at 8.37.

Turns out this is Zimmer’s type of year for cornerbacks in the draft. Many of the projected picks between the first and third rounds have athletic profiles with similarities to the current crop of corners in Minnesota.

The highest RAS (8.66) among corners in this year’s draft class went to Greedy Williams of LSU.

The top-rated corner in the draft from LSU is one of the tallest at 6-foot-1. He also ran a sub-4.4 40-yard dash. Over the last two seasons, opposing quarterbacks had a 42.5 rating throwing in his direction, according to PFF.

Former Vikings participate in Broadcast Boot Camp

Viking Update’s Tim Yotter noted that four former Vikings were among the 33 current and former players who recently participated in the NFL’s Broadcast Boot Camp.

Safety George Iloka, who was with the Vikings last year and signed with the Dallas Cowboys in free agency last month, is the most recent of those former Vikings. Also attending were defensive end George Johnson, linebacker Michael Mauti and quarterback Matt Cassel.

The NFL Player Engagement Broadcast Boot Camp took place April 1-4 at Bowling Green in Ohio. Each day of the program had a specific focus, including opportunities in sports radio and podcasts, studio show preparation and game analysis, according to a press release on the program. The sessions were titled “Sports Media Coverage of Social Issues,” “Modern Day Interview Techniques,” “The Making of a Video Feature” and “Call-a-Game.” Players received hands-on guidance and participated in mock press conferences, radio podcasts and production meetings.

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