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One of the biggest headlines from the combine were the jumps from Byron Jones, a cornerback from Connecticut. Most impressive was his broad jump, which was not only 8 inches better than everyone else in Indianapolis, but also 8 inches better than anyone else in combine history. More on his broad jump in a future post, but Jones’ 44.5″ vertical too shabby, either: it was the best since 2009, when Ohio State and eventual Chiefs safety Donald Washington jumped 45 inches (a feat later matched by one other player at this year’s combine).

But Jones didn’t have the most impressive vertical at the combine, because at 199 pounds, there’s an expectation that he would do fairly well in that drill.  Given his weight, we would expect Jones to jump about 35.5 inches, based on the best-fit formula derived here, and defined below:

Expected VJ = 48.34 – 0.0646 * Weight

One way to think of that formula is that for every 15.5 pounds of player weight, the expectation on the vertical is one fewer inch.  So at 230 pounds, the expectation would be 33.5 inches.  Which brings us to Alvin “Bud” Dupree, whom we lauded yesterday for the top performance in the 40-yard dash.  At 269 pounds, he would be expected to jump roughly 31.0 inches.  Instead, the Kentucky edge rusher jumped a whopping 42.0 inches — or 11.0 inches over expectation — making it the best weight-adjusted performance of any player in Indianapolis.

Below are the results of the Vertical Jump for every player at the combine. All data comes courtesy of NFLSavant.com.

RkNamePosCollegeWeightExpVerticalDiff
1Bud DupreeOLBKentucky269314211
2Chris ConleyWRGeorgia21334.64510.4
3Davis TullOLBTennessee-Chattanooga24632.442.510.1
4Byron JonesCBConnecticut19935.544.59
5Vic BeasleyOLBClemson24632.4418.6
6Benardrick McKinneyILBMississippi St.24632.440.58.1
7Owamagbe OdighizuwaDEUCLA26731.1397.9
8Jaelen StrongWRArizona State21734.3427.7
9Frank ClarkDEMichigan27130.838.57.7
10David JohnsonRBNorthern Iowa22433.941.57.6
11Ameer AbdullahRBNebraska20535.142.57.4
12Zach ZennerRBSouth Dakota St.22333.9417.1
13Ty MontgomeryWRStanford22134.140.56.4
14Sammie CoatesWRAuburn21234.6416.4
15Jesse JamesTEPenn St.26131.537.56
16Kenny BellWRNebraska19735.641.55.9
17MyCole PruittTESouthern Illinois25132.1385.9
18John CrockettRBNorth Dakota St.21734.3405.7
19Ronald DarbyCBFlorida St.19335.941.55.6
20Geneo GrissomDEOklahoma26231.4375.6
21Ellis McCarthyDTUCLA33826.5325.5
22Donovan SmithOGPenn St.33826.5325.5
23Rakeem Nunez-RochesDTSouthern Miss30728.5345.5
24Rannell HallWRCentral Florida19835.5415.5
25Trey FlowersDEArkansas26631.236.55.3
26Carl DavisDTIowa32027.7335.3
27Kevin JohnsonCBWake Forest18836.241.55.3
28Devin FunchessWRMichigan23233.438.55.1
29Zack WagenmannDEMontana24732.437.55.1
30Tyeler DavisonDTFresno St.31627.9335.1
31David CobbRBMinnesota22933.538.55
32Jay AjayiRBBoise St.22134.1394.9
33Jordan HicksOLBTexas23633.1384.9
34Laurence GibsonOTVirginia Tech30528.633.54.9
35Eric KendricksILBUCLA23233.4384.6
36Kurtis DrummondFSMichigan St.20834.939.54.6
37Arik ArmsteadDTOregon29229.5344.5
38Edmond RobinsonOLBNewberry24532.5374.5
39Damien WilsonILBMinnesota24532.5374.5
40Max VallesOLBVirginia25132.136.54.4
41Stephone AnthonyILBClemson24332.6374.4
42Alex CarterCBStanford19635.7404.3
43P.J. WilliamsCBFlorida St.19435.8404.2
44T.J. ClemmingsOTPittsburgh30928.432.54.1
45Danny SheltonNTWashington33926.430.54.1
46Darren WallerWRGeorgia Tech23833374
47Laken TomlinsonOGDuke32327.531.54
48Tayo FabulujeOGTCU35325.529.54
49Jake FisherOTOregon30628.632.53.9
50Eric RoweFSUtah20535.1393.9
51Andrew DonnalOTIowa31328.1323.9
52Wes SaxtonTESouth Alabama24832.3363.7
53Rob CrispOTN.C. State30128.932.53.6
54Obum GwachamDEOregon St.24632.4363.6
55Anthony ChickilloDEMiami26731.134.53.4
56Randy GregoryOLBNebraska23533.236.53.3
57Devin SmithWROhio St.19635.7393.3
58Tre McBrideWRWilliam & Mary21034.8383.2
59Angelo BlacksonDTAuburn31827.8313.2
60Preston SmithDEMississippi St.27130.8343.2
61Corey CrawfordDEClemson28330.1332.9
62Jordan PhillipsNTOklahoma32927.1302.9
63Andrus PeatOTStanford31328.1312.9
64Clive WalfordTEMiami25132.1352.9
65Clayton GeathersSSCentral Florida21834.3372.7
66Craig MagerCBTexas St.20135.4382.6
67Eli HaroldOLBVirginia24732.4352.6
68Nick MarshallQBAuburn2073537.52.5
69D.J. HumphriesOTFlorida30728.5312.5
70Terry PooleOGSan Diego St.30728.5312.5
71Jarvis HarrisonOGTexas A&M3302729.52.5
72Bobby RichardsonDTIndiana28330.132.52.4
73Terrence MageeRBLSU21334.6372.4
74Louis Trinca-PasatDTIowa29029.6322.4
75Cameron ErvingCFlorida St.31328.130.52.4
76Mitch MorseOGMissouri30528.6312.4
77Kwon AlexanderOLBLSU22733.7362.3
78Damarious RandallFSArizona State19635.7382.3
79Grady JarrettNTClemson30428.7312.3
80Bryan BennettQBSoutheastern Louisiana21134.7372.3
81Brett HundleyQBUCLA22633.7362.3
82T.J. YeldonRBAlabama22633.7362.3
83Maxx WilliamsTEMinnesota24932.334.52.2
84Mario Edwards Jr.DTFlorida St.27930.332.52.2
85Josh ShawCBUSC20135.437.52.1
86Kyle EmanuelOLBNorth Dakota St.25531.9342.1
87Geremy DavisWRConnecticut21634.436.52.1
88Gus JohnsonRBStephen F. Austin21534.536.52
89Kevin WhiteWRWest Virginia21534.536.52
90Marcus MariotaQBOregon22234362
91Justin CoxFSMississippi St.19136382
92Ali MarpetCHobart & William Smith30728.530.52
93Ramik WilsonILBGeorgia23733352
94Darius PhilonDTArkansas29829.1311.9
95Martrell SpaightOLBArkansas23633.1351.9
96Da'Ron BrownWRNorthern Illinois20535.1371.9
97Deon SimonNTNorthwestern St. (LA)32127.629.51.9
98Marcus PetersCBWashington19735.637.51.9
99Cameron Artis-PayneRBAuburn21234.636.51.9
100Bryce HagerILBBaylor23433.2351.8
101Malcom BrownDTTexas31927.729.51.8
102Takoby CofieldOTDuke31028.3301.7
103Trae WaynesCBMichigan St.18636.3381.7
104Jake RyanOLBMichigan24032.834.51.7
105DeVante ParkerWRLouisville20934.836.51.7
106Davaris DanielsWRNotre Dame20135.4371.6
107Vince MayleWRWashington St.22433.935.51.6
108Tyrus ThompsonOTOklahoma32427.4291.6
109Jalston FowlerFBAlabama25431.933.51.6
110Cameron ClearTETexas A&M27730.4321.6
111Ryan RussellDEPurdue2693132.51.5
112Lynden TrailDENorfolk St.2693132.51.5
113Alani FuaOLBBYU2383334.51.5
114Chaz GreenOTFlorida31428.129.51.4
115Javorius AllenRBUSC22134.135.51.4
116Landon CollinsSSAlabama22833.6351.4
117Jermaine WhiteheadFSAuburn19735.6371.4
118Devante DavisWRUNLV22034.135.51.4
119Jahwan EdwardsRBBall St.22034.135.51.4
120Zack HodgesOLBHarvard25032.233.51.3
121J.T. SurrattDTSouth Carolina30428.7301.3
122Adrian AmosFSPenn St.21834.335.51.2
123Justin ColemanCBTennessee18536.437.51.1
124Thomas RawlsRBCentral Michigan21534.535.51
125Dante Fowler Jr.OLBFlorida26131.532.51
126Austin ShepherdOTAlabama31528291
127Mark GlowinskiOGWest Virginia30728.529.51
128Blake BellTEOklahoma25232.1330.9
129Julian WilsonCBOklahoma20535.1360.9
130Rob HavensteinOTWisconsin32127.628.50.9
131Jalen CollinsCBLSU20335.2360.8
132Quinten RollinsCBMiami (OH)19535.736.50.8
133Tye SmithCBTowson19535.736.50.8
134Ty SambrailoOTColorado St.31128.2290.8
135Leonard WilliamsDEUSC30228.829.50.7
136Henry AndersonDEStanford29429.3300.7
137Malcolm BrownRBTexas22433.934.50.6
138Jamison CrowderWRDuke18536.4370.6
139Phillip DorsettWRMiami18536.4370.6
140Justin HardyWREast Carolina19235.936.50.6
141David ParryNTStanford30828.4290.6
142Melvin GordonRBWisconsin21534.5350.5
143Leon OrrDTFlorida32327.5280.5
144Bryce PettyQBBaylor23033.5340.5
145Jean SifrinTEMassachusetts24532.5330.5
146Dorial Green-BeckhamWRMissouri2373333.50.5
147Martin IfediDEMemphis27530.6310.4
148Lorenzo MauldinOLBLouisville25931.6320.4
149Jamil DouglasOGArizona State30428.7290.3
150Michael BurtonFBRutgers24232.7330.3
151Joe CardonaLSNavy24232.7330.3
152Bobby McCainCBMemphis19535.7360.3
153Robert MyersOGTennessee St.32627.327.50.2
154Tony WashingtonOLBOregon24732.432.50.1
155Cody PrewittFSMississippi20834.9350.1
156Ben HeeneyILBKansas23133.433.50.1
157Tony LippettWRMichigan St.19235.9360.1
158Karlos WilliamsRBFlorida St.23033.533.50
159Rashad GreeneWRFlorida St.18236.636.5-0.1
160Shaq ThompsonOLBWashington22833.633.5-0.1
161Quandre DiggsCBTexas19635.735.5-0.2
162Jeremiah PoutasiOGUtah33526.726.5-0.2
163Michael DyerRBLouisville21834.334-0.3
164D'Joun SmithCBFlorida Atlantic18736.336-0.3
165Mike DavisRBSouth Carolina21734.334-0.3
166B.J. CatalonRBTCU18636.336-0.3
167Jeremy LangfordRBMichigan St.20834.934.5-0.4
168Xavier CooperDTWashington St.29329.429-0.4
169Taiwan JonesILBMichigan St.24532.532-0.5
170Nick BoyleTEDelaware2683130.5-0.5
171Brandon BridgeQBSouth Alabama22933.533-0.5
172Amarlo HerreraILBGeorgia24432.632-0.6
173Nate OrchardDEUtah25032.231.5-0.7
174Donatella LuckettWRHarding21134.734-0.7
175Leterrius WaltonDTCentral Michigan31927.727-0.7
176Stefon DiggsWRMaryland19535.735-0.7
177Jerry LovelockeQBPrairie View A&M24832.331.5-0.8
178Eric TomlinsonTETexas-El Paso26331.430.5-0.9
179Joey IosefaRBHawaii24732.431.5-0.9
180Jon FelicianoOGMiami32327.526.5-1
181Dezmin LewisWRCentral Arkansas21434.533.5-1
182Kevin WhiteCBTCU18336.535.5-1
183Tyler LockettWRKansas St.18236.635.5-1.1
184Denzel PerrymanILBMiami23633.132-1.1
185Steven NelsonCBOregon St.19735.634.5-1.1
186Daryl WilliamsOTOklahoma32727.226-1.2
187DeAndrew WhiteWRAlabama19335.934.5-1.4
188Cody FajardoQBNevada22333.932.5-1.4
189Duke JohnsonRBMiami2073533.5-1.5
190Derrick LottDTTennessee-Chattanooga31428.126.5-1.6
191Nick O'LearyTEFlorida St.25232.130.5-1.6
192Andy GallikCBoston College30628.627-1.6
193La'el CollinsOTLSU30528.627-1.6
194Za'Darius SmithDEKentucky27430.629-1.6
195Amari CooperWRAlabama21134.733-1.7
196Reese DismukesCAuburn29629.227.5-1.7
197Dean MarloweFSJames Madison20335.233.5-1.7
198J.R. TavaiOLBUSC24932.330.5-1.8
199John MillerOGLouisville30328.827-1.8
200Ladarius GunterCBMiami20235.333.5-1.8
201Hayes PullardILBUSC24032.831-1.8
202Trenton BrownOGFlorida35525.423.5-1.9
203Matt JonesRBFlorida23133.431.5-1.9
204Deon LongWRMaryland19235.934-1.9
205Keith MumpheryWRMichigan St.21534.532.5-2
206Tre' JacksonOGFlorida St.3302725-2
207Xzavier DicksonOLBAlabama26031.529.5-2
208Anthony JeffersonCBUCLA19835.533.5-2
209Ross ScheuermanRBLafayette20435.233-2.2
210Charles GainesCBLouisville18036.734.5-2.2
211Trey WilliamsRBTexas A&M19535.733.5-2.2
212J.J. NelsonWRUAB15638.336-2.3
213Josh RobinsonRBMississippi St.21734.332-2.3
214James SampleSSLouisville20934.832.5-2.3
215Doran GrantCBOhio St.20035.433-2.4
216Kyshoen JarrettSSVirginia Tech20035.433-2.4
217Gabe WrightDTAuburn3002926.5-2.5
218Dee HartRBColorado St.19935.533-2.5
219Sean MannionQBOregon St.22933.531-2.5
220Jordan RichardsSSStanford21134.732-2.7
221Mario AlfordWRWest Virginia18036.734-2.7
222Kaelin ClayWRUtah19535.733-2.7
223Tevin McDonaldFSEastern Washington19535.733-2.7
224Jacoby GlennCBCentral Florida17936.834-2.8
225Lorenzo DossCBTulane18236.633.5-3.1
226Damian SwannCBGeorgia18936.133-3.1
227Titus DavisWRCentral Michigan19635.732.5-3.2
228Senquez GolsonCBMississippi1763733.5-3.5
229Garry PetersCBClemson1913632.5-3.5
230Darrian MillerOGKentucky30728.525-3.5
231Chris HackettFSTCU19535.732-3.7
232Blake SimsQBAlabama21834.330.5-3.8
233B.J. FinneyCKansas St.31827.824-3.8
234Brett BoykoOTUNLV30128.925-3.9
235Durell EskridgeFSSyracuse20834.931-3.9
236Josh HarperWRFresno St.1913632-4
237Troy HillCBOregon18236.632.5-4.1
238Christion JonesWRAlabama18236.632.5-4.1
239Shane CardenQBEast Carolina21834.329.5-4.8
240Aaron DavisOLBColorado St.22533.829-4.8
241Jameis WinstonQBFlorida St.23133.428.5-4.9
242Braylon HeardRBKentucky19835.530.5-5
243Paul DawsonILBTCU23533.228-5.2
244Al BondOGMemphis30328.823.5-5.3
245Joey MbuDTHouston31328.122.5-5.6
246Kenny HilliardRBLSU22633.727-6.7
247Ezell RuffinWRSan Diego St.21834.327.5-6.8
248Marcus MurphyRBMissouri19335.929-6.9
249Anthony BooneQBDuke23133.426.5-6.9
250Josue MatiasOGFlorida St.30928.417.5-10.9

Using the data from NFL Combine Results, I checked to see where Dupree’s rating would rank among all players since 1999. It would rank 4th, with the top three being:

  • +11.2, from Mario Williams, who jumped 40.5 inches at 295 pounds in 2005.
  • +12.4, from Cameron Wake, who jumped 45.5 inches at 236 pounds and yet somehow went undrafted in 2005. And did this a few years later.

Dupree was projected to be a first round pick before the combine. In Indianapolis, he did all he could to solidify that status.

  • sn0mm1s

    I think you mean 42 inches – or 11 inches over predicted.

  • Arif Hasan

    By pos:

    RB: David Johnson (+6.73)
    Edge: Bud Dupree (+10.33)
    Interior DL: Owa Odighizua (+6.74)
    Off-ball LB: Bernardrick McKinney (+7.11)
    DB: Byron Jones (+8.12)
    WR: Chris Conley (+9.66)
    OL: Laurence Gibson (+4.97)

    if you don’t consider Owa interior DL, then it’s Rakeem Nunez-Roches (+3.64), if you think Vic Beasley can be an Off-ball LB, he wins there (+8.83)

    Once again, if it doesn’t match the results up there, it’s for two reasons: 1) each position’s expected score was regressed within position, 2) I found height to be significant when looking at the data 1999-2015 for a number of score (including this one) and so that is an input

    I am glad that this time, neither the heaviest player (Trenton Brown) nor the tallest player (… Trenton Brown) dominated.

  • Dan

    I’m not sure what to make of weight-adjusting players’ 40 and vertical numbers, because it’s unclear how much of the correlation between them is causal and how much is due to selection effects. There’s a plausible causal story, which is that it’s physics: it takes more force to move a bigger body, so if two players have equally strong/springy legs, the smaller one will jump higher and run faster.

    But there are also plausible stories where it’s selection effects. One selection effect story: guys who are both small and slow/unathletic mostly don’t make it to the NFL. For example, a big fast RB is best, a small fast RB can still make it by beating defenders with his speed, and a big slow RB can make it by beating defenders with his power, but a small slow RB probably just won’t make it to the NFL (or the combine). So what you’ll see is a negative correlation between size and speed, because the small slow people have been removed from the sample.

    For comparison, in the NBA, tall players tend to be worse free throw shooters. I think that’s not because height is actually a disadvantage for shooting. It’s because 7 footers who can’t shoot can still make the NBA, while 6’2″ guys who can’t shoot have a much harder time making the NBA. If the correlation between free throw shooting and height is just because people who are short and bad shooters don’t make the NBA, what would the stat height-adjusted free throw percentage tell you?

    Another selection effect story is based on players have different roles. Speed is very important for CBs, but not so important for OGs. So part of the reason why 220 pound CBs are so much faster than 300 pound OGs is that the CBs were heavily selected and trained for speed, and the OGs were not. For comparison, imagine if there was a sport that involved a mix of horseback riding and rugby, done by different players. The best horseback riding specialists would look like jockeys, and they wouldn’t be selected for footspeed, while the rugby specialists would be selected for being big and fast. In that sport, the correlation between size and speed would be in the opposite direction: larger players would also be faster.

    • Great comment, Dan. I’m inclined to take the physics side here, although I agree that there are some selection biases in effect. But all else being equal, weight makes it harder to jump high. It might be more interesting to break it down by position, as Arif has done. Tho Dupree and Conley still take the top prize.

      • Arif Hasan

        I find the position stuff so interesting if only because the equations are so markedly different in the “expected score” for nearly every combine event, which I assume is the result of a) recruitment of position-specific skills and body types and b) position-specific training in the weight room and conditioning on the field.

        And also because the data is more… well “usable” is the wrong word but I think you know what I mean.