Matt Waldman’s RSP Boiler Room examines the technique of 2018 NFL Draft prospects, WR Calvin Ridley of Alabama.
Many football fans and analysts underestimated Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp. It’s easy to do when the likes of Cris Collinsworth broaches Kupp’s 4.6-second, 40-time on weekly basis to a national audience.
Kupp’s slow time is a data point that adds a dramatic flourish to any broadcast: Look how the slow guy beat the odds to become a valued playmaker in the NFL.
Hear this enough times as a casual fan and it’s one of the dozens of throwaway statements that reinforce false narratives about players and the game on a weekly basis. Dig deeper, and Kupp’s 20-shuttle and 3-Cone drills were top-notch.
Kupp isn’t fast in laymen’s terms, but he is sudden and that’s more important.
Route running is about choreographed acceleration and change of direction. Great choreography requires tremendous control. It’s only logical that the most choreographed athletic drills at the combine that remotely mimic the physical mechanics of route running are the 20-shuttle and the 3-Cone.
It’s also logical that Steve Smith — a receiver weeks into his retirement — interrupted his cohorts during the NFL Network’s Combine broadcast to share that Kupp was his top-rated receiver in this class. Smith’s arguments for Kupp were all about the rookie’s routes.
While the 20-shuttle, 3-Cone, and 40-yard dash are all forms of speed, each form of speed has practical application. I define the speed of the first two drills as forms of suddenness.
Calvin Ridley has the simplistic definition of speed. However, he is also sudden. This RSP Boiler Room examines Ridley’s practical application of suddenness on the football field.
For analysis of skill players, get the 2018 Rookie Scouting Portfolio, now available for pre-order. If you’re a fantasy owner the Post-Draft Add-on comes with the 2012 – 2018 RSPs at no additional charge. Best, yet, 10 percent of every sale is donated to Darkness to Light to combat sexual abuse. You can purchase past editions of the Rookie Scouting Portfolio for just $9.95 each.