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Did Abe Lucas test his way into the first round of NFL Draft?

His NFL Combine results suggest it’s possible.

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Transforming your body is hard. When I was a freshman at WSU I landed in Streit, and due to its proximity to the REC center, I thought it wise to spend a good chunk of my student loan money on new, large sized clothes. I was going to go the gym everyday and get shredded. Utterly jacked.

Instead, I ended up looking like Eminem’s stunt double in 8 Mile and spent most of my time at WSU in supersized clothes, trying to figure out how to pay back the money for my new ill-advised wardrobe vs. lifting at the REC. I guess you get out of fitness what you put in.

Abraham Lucas’ transformation from 250-pound high school defensive end into a 320-pound athletic specimen of a tackle is difficult to fully comprehend in how impressive it is. The work he put in off the field paid off on it, with Lucas opening his career at Washington State being named a Freshman All-American by USA Today and book ending it by earning 1st team Pac-12 honors. The “tape” is there, which brings us to the NFL Combine and the opportunity to showcase — in front of NFL GMs — the athleticism that led to that on-field production.

The below chart looks at how Lucas performed in each drill at the combine compared to every OT who participated in the combine going back to 2014 (you can go all the way back to 2000 if you want). If you’re on a desktop, you can lasso select around Abe’s logo and you’ll get a hyperlink that will take you to a new chart that compares him against that cohort in all other combine events.

The goal of this analysis is to see how a combine participant’s performance compares to the average performance of players taken in rounds 1, 2-3, 4-6, and 7-UDFA of the NFL Draft.

Virtual Water Cooler Talking Points

  • Since 2014, 13 of 19 (68%) of OT’s who ran a sub-5-second 40 were drafted in the first or second round. Lucas ran a 4.92.
  • Lucas had the second fastest 3 Cone drill time of any OT since 2014. No OT who has run a sub 7.35-second 3 Cone has been drafted later than the 2nd round since 2014. Lucas ran 7.25.
  • Lucas had the second fastest shuttle of any OT since 2014. No OT who has run a sub-4.46 shuttle has been drafted later than the 3rd round since 2014. Lucas ran 4.40, matching 2019 1st round pick Andre Dillard.

I’ve included a “How To” button/gif in the chart; if you click said button it will open a new window showing how to navigate this if you want to play around with it. If you’re on mobile tilt your phone horizontal for the best experience, and if you’re on Google AMP or Apple News click here to open in a new tab and return to the story.

The knock on Lucas’ combine performance could be his 24 bench reps or his 107 inch broad jump. Both are impressive, but smack in the middle rounds when compared to where other combine participants ended up getting drafted.

However, when you look at OT’s with 24-25 bench reps since 2014, 43% (12 of 28) have still been drafted in the first or second rounds. The below chart looks at that cohort sorted by bench reps. If a square is blue that means that participant was a top performer for this cohort in that event, light to dark orange means they were a bottom performer for this cohort.

What you’ll see is that Lucas is on par with many first rounders in bench, posting the same number as Tristan Wirfs, Mike McGlinchey, and the aforementioned Dillard. While Lucas doesn’t have the ridiculous broad jump or vertical of Wirfs, Dillard or Kolton Miller, he still projects out athletically on the same plain as Jake Matthews and Jack Conklin. At tackle, especially right tackle, where Lucas projects, he has elite-level athleticism.

If you’re on mobile tilt your phone horizontal for the best experience and if you’re on Google AMP or Apple News click here to open in a new tab and return to the story.

Many outlets are projecting Lucas as a 3rd or 4th rounder, which is amazing. I think we’d all be quite happy with that outcome. PFF is currently projecting that his most likely destinations are Green Bay, Chicago or Seattle. The on-field production is there; hopefully Lucas’ incredible combine performance assuages any concerns an NFL GM might have about an Air Raid/Run and Shoot tackle being athletic enough to be worthy of a day 1 pick.

Go Abe, Go Cougs.

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