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Cowboys Focus On DTs: What’s Your ‘Explosiveness Index’?

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Mike Fisher is an award-winning newspaper journalist, the author of...
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IRVING (105.3 THE FAN) – The Dallas Cowboys have a desire to beef up their new 4-3 defensive line, and this week’s NFL Draft – starting in the first round – offers up plenty of beef.

But ideally, the player taken at No. 18 overall (and throughout the draft and at every position) should have “explosiveness.’’ Yet, how do we measure such a thing?

Maybe there is a way.

The Cowboys have first-round grades on four defensive tackles: Sharrif Floyd of Florida , Star Lotulelei of Utah, Sheldon Richardson of Missouri and Sylvester Williams of North Carolina. Floyd will go early today. A couple of national mock drafts project Lotulelei slipping to Dallas at 18, which seems unlikely. (But if he’s there, consider that card turned in!) Richardson and Williams are both worthy selections.

But is there a measurement that might determine the success of a defensive lineman?

Analyst Pat Kirwan, an ex-NFL exec, offers us a formula. The Kirwan Explosion Index (KEI) is imperfect, of course. But it does help broaden the scope on what a player can give his team. And, well, it has been pretty darn effective.

A player is said to have elite explosiveness if their score is 70 or higher (the formula: bench + vertical + standing broad jump). Our Nate Fisher has complied NFL Combine numbers and Pro Day numbers to calculate this year’s defensive line prospects … as well as grabbing a few notable examples from the past to show how KEI works (or sometimes doesn’t).

Remember, the lower the score, the less explosive the player. Players with scores in the 50’s and low 60’s could be flagged as guys who don’t possess the natural athleticism or work habits to be successful.

What you’ll see below: Ends Cornelius Washington (Georgia) and Margus Hunt (SMU) are explosiveness wonders. Historically speaking, if Dallas drafts a defensive tackle, he’ll get to play inside of a pair of KEI success stories in DeMarcus Ware (75.66) and Anthony Spencer (71.83). Lotulelei has a chance to be dominant by this measure with his score of 77. And Richardson is a potential success here, too, due to his 71.8 score. Sylvester Williams? He’ll need to overcome his score of 62.

Cowboys KEI Historical References

DeMarcus Ware
Bench 27
Vertical Jump 38.5
Broad Jump 10.16
KEI 75.66

Anthony Spencer
Bench Press 30
Vertical Jump 32.5
Broad Jump 9.33
KEI 71.83

2009 NFL Draft. 11 front-seven players taken in the first round. Among them:

Tyson Jackson (picked 3rd overall) Bust. 5 sacks in 4 years
Bench Press 20
Vertical Jump 28.5
Broad Jump 8.6
KEI 57

Brian Orakpo 13th overall 2 time pro bowler
Bench Press 31
Vertical Jump 39.5
Broad Jump 11
KEI 81.5

Clay Matthews 4 time pro bowler 2 time all pro
Bench Press 23
Vertical Jump 35.5
Broad Jump 10
KEI 68.5. ALMOST 70

2013 DEFENSIVE ENDS KEI

Ezekial Ansah Brigham Young DE 6’5 271
40 Yard Dash *4.63
Bench Reps 21
Vertical Jump 34.5
Broad Jump 9.833
KEI 65.333

David Bass Missouri Western DE 6’4 262
40 Yard Dash 4.84
Bench Press 22
Vertical Jump 30.5
Broad Jump 9.25
KEI 61.75

Armonty Bryant East Central (OK) DE 6’4 263
40 Yard Dash 4.72
Bench Press 15
Vertical Jump 34.5
Broad Jump 10.083
KEI 59.583

Michael Buchanan Illinois DE 6’5 255
40 Yard Dash 4.78
Bench Press 22
Vertical Jump 33.0
Broad Jump 9.41
KEI 64.41

Cornellius Carradine Florida State DE 6’4 276
40 Yard Dash *4.75
Bench Press 32
Results unavailable. Injury to ACL in November

Lavar Edwards LSU DE 6’4 277
40 Yard Dash 4.80
Bench Press 21
Vertical Jump 33.0
Broad Jump 9.91
KEI 63.91

William Gholston Michigan State DE 6’6 281
40 Yard Dash 4.96
Bench Press 23
Vertical Jump 28.5
Broad Jump 110

Malliciah Goodman Clemson DE 6’4 276
40 Yard Dash 4.87
Bench Press 26
Vertical Jump 33
Broad Jump 9.75
KEI 68.75

Margus Hunt Southern Methodist DE 6’8 277
40 Yard Dash *4.62
Bench Press 38
Vertical Jump 34.5
Broad Jump 10.08
KEI 82.58

Datone Jones UCLA DE 6’4 283
40 Yard Dash 4.80
Bench Press 29
Vertical Jump 31.5
Broad Jump 9.33
KEI 69.83

Dion Jordan Oregon DE 6’6 248
40 Yard Dash 4.60
Vertical Jump 32.5
Broad Jump 122
Did not fully compete.

Joe Kruger Utah DE 6’6 269
40 Yard Dash 4.83
Bench Press 24
Vertical Jump 34.0
Broad Jump .75
KEI 67.75

Corey Lemonier Auburn DE 6’3 255
40 Yard Dash 4.60
Bench Press 27
Vertical Jump 34.0
Broad Jump 9.91
KEI 70.41

Stansly Maponga TCU DE 6’2 256
40 Yard Dash 4.81
Bench Press 30
Vertical Jump 29.5
Broad Jump 9.5
KEI 69

Sam Montgomery LSU DE 6’3 262
40 Yard Dash 4.81
Bench Press 22
Vertical Jump 34.5
Broad Jump 9.5
KEI 66

Damontre Moore Texas A&M DE 6’5 250
40 Yard Dash 4.84
Bench Press 12
Vertical Jump 35.5
Broad Jump 10.16
KEI 57.16

Alex Okafor Texas DE 6’5 264
40 Yard Dash 4.91
Bench Press 21
Vertical Jump 31
Broad Jump 9.33
KEI 61.33

Devin Taylor South Carolina DE 6’7 266
40 Yard Dash 4.72
Bench Press 16
Vertical Jump 35.0
Broad Jump 10.66
KEI 61.66

Cornelius Washington Georgia DE 6’4 265
40 Yard Dash 4.55
Bench Press 36
Vertical Jump 39.0
Broad Jump 10.66
KEI 85.66
(The highest score of any player in the draft)

Bjoern Werner Florida State DE 6’3 266
40 Yard Dash 4.83
Bench Press 25
Vertical Jump 31.0
Broad Jump 9.25
KEI 65.25

Tourek Williams Florida International DE 6’3 260
40 Yard Dash 4.71
Bench Press 25
Vertical Jump 33.0
Broad Jump 9.33
KEI 67.33

2013 DEFENSIVE TACKLES KEI

Sheldon Richardson Missouri DT
Bench Press 30
Vertical Jump 32
Broad Jump 9.8
KEI 71.8

Brandon Williams Missouri So. DT
Bench Press 38
Vertical Jump29.5
Broad Jump 8-6
76

Akeem Spence Illinois DT
Bench Press 37
Vertical Jump 30
Broad Jump 8-11
76

Star Lotulelei Utah DT
Bench Press 38
Vertical Jump 30
Broad Jump 811
77

Sylvester Williams DT UNC
Bench Press 27
Vertical Jump 26.5
Broad Jump 8.5
KEI 62

Shariff Floyd DT Florida
Incomplete, no bench

Johnathan Hankins DT Ohio State
Incomplete, no bench

John Jenkins DT Georgia
Bench 30
Vert 24.5
Broad 8.3
KEI 62.8

Jesse Williams DT Alabama
Incomplete, no jumps

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