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Seattle's 2013 Draft Class measureables & the Seahawks' SPARQ


John Schneider's mentor is Ron Wolf. Schneider has described Wolf as a "Height-Weight-Speed- guy from the Al Davis Tree". Fans like to make fun of the Raiders and their drafts, especially toward the end of Al Davis' life. He would routinely draft the fastest testers at the combine, and many would not be good football players.

We forget that Al Davis was a pioneer of the AFL/AFC before the end and led their franchise to multiple Super Bowls. Before Ron Wolf made history in Green Bay, he cut his teeth with Al Davis. Wolf was a part of drafting Art Shell, Gene Upshaw, Howie Long, and Marcus Allen among many others in Oakland. If you are a Seahawks fan, in a roundabout way, you are being influenced today by Al Davis and Ron Wolf.

I have been to several WinForever events - they're coaching seminars meant primarily for High School football coaches (I am not a High School Football Coach, though they also target businesspeople and simply people trying to improve their perspective/performance on/at life). One part of the WinForever seminar was a cross-promotion for a program by Nike called SPARQ - and it's something that Carroll has been a part of and been a proponent for (seriously, watch that SPARQ informational video - right up Pete Carroll's alley, even down to some of the terminology that he uses).

Part of the SPARQ program was a SPARQ Rating - and though I'm not sure this SPARQ rating system is still currently in use by Nike, it was calculated on five simple metrics, and it basically measures your explosiveness as an athlete. Here are the basics, as I understood them:

(1) Enter Your Weight (this may normalize the calculation because of big lineman versus smaller skill players?)
(2) Forty Yard Dash
(3) 20 Yard Short Shuttle (5/10/5 drill which is like running lines - 5 yards one way, back ten yards, then back another 5 to where you started- this is the not the "3 cone" or "L cone" drill where you have to pivot)
(4) Kneeling Powerball Toss (this is their preferred method of a "Maximum Bench Press")
(5) Vertical Jump

If a high school athlete plugged their numbers into this "magic calculator" and your number was anywhere from 120 to 150, then you were one of the best high school athletes in the country, and had a good shot at D1 college football success, at least from an athletic standpoint. Carroll stands behind this type of thinking.

Below, you can look at the Seahawks draft picks, I have included their age, height, weight, forty, vertical and bench. The bench would be a proxy for the kneeling-powerball-toss. The 3-cone likely has some relationship to the 5/10/5 or "20 Yard Shuttle".

I have no exact idea what the players drafted to the "Seahawks SPARQ" rating would be, but by looking at the numbers - you would think RB Christine Michael would have an insane SPARQ rating. I bet Percy Harvin does as well. Chris Harper's numbers are likely not too shabby. John Schneider described Luke Willson as the "2nd best tester" in the post-draft presser. He called Willson the 2nd best tester, and used similar phrasing to describe Greg Scruggs in 2012, and it made me think they take these Combine numbers and the player's weight and calculate their own "proprietary Seahawks SPARQ rating". I think, but have no proof, that they take the combine numbers and boil them down to some sort of single number metric.

NOTES: Arm length and hand size are not a measure of explosiveness, but they are important for most football positions, and is something the Seahawks look at closely (not unlike all NFL teams). I could not find Jesse Williams vertical or Michael Bowie's arm and hand size. When you read the height column, for instance- Spencer Ware is 5 Foot 10 Inches and 1/8 inch tall. Jesse Williams is 6 Foot 3 Inches and 3/8 inches tall. Enjoy!

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