Khristian Boyd didn’t meet Saints’ usual athletic marks, and it may not matter

New Orleans Saints fans have keyed in on some of their team’s trends in scouting college players, and there’s one metric in particular that gets discussed leading up to the NFL draft: Relative Athletic Scores.

Developed by NFL analyst Kent Lee Platte, RAS is a composite score that inputs standard testing results from the NFL Scouting Combine and college pro days, then digests that information into a single number on a 10-point scale for ease of use. It’s valuable because there are thousands of players at every position group to compare against current prospects.

To be clear, the New Orleans Saints do not use RAS in their draft evaluations. But they do have similar in-house metrics which often correlate with RAS. So if a player scores well on the RAS scale, odds are he’ll also get a high grade from the Saints’ own internal metric.

Which makes it interesting that New Orleans’ sixth-round draft pick Khristian Boyd was so far out of alignment with the Saints’ usual tendencies. He posted a below-average 4.63 Relative Athletic Score with an incomplete profile, having not run the 40 yard dash, but that’s inconsequential for a 325-pound defensive tackle.

And a low RAS isn’t a harbinger for nose tackles like Boyd. We reached out to Platte for an explanation on why he feels Boyd could be successful in spite of a poor score in the system he created.

“Just that he’s a nose tackle who tested fine for a nose tackle,” Platte told Saints Wire. “Nose tackle is kind of in its own little world, it’s not broken out from defensive tackle in my database yet, but big guys like that don’t tend to test well, so it’s not a big concern. You want size, which he has. You want strength, which he has. He’s a bit lacking in length, but he was one of the most popular players for team visits so clearly it wasn’t much of an issue for them.”

Boyd travelled around the country to meet with 16 different teams before the draft and even turned down formal visits with others because he couldn’t fit them into his crowded schedule, so as Platte said, it’s obvious that teams were not turned off by so-so measurables. When you’re tipping the scales at 6-foot-2.5 and 325 pounds while cranking out 38 reps on the 225-pound bench press, it doesn’t really matter how high you can jump or how quickly you finish the pro shuttle. If Boyd is ever asked to sprint 40 yards during a game something has gone terribly wrong. What matters most is that he has NFL size and prodigious strength, even by NFL standards.

Will Boyd enjoy success with the Saints? He has one of the clearest paths to playing as a rookie out of everyone the team added over the weekend. Nathan Shepherd, Bryan Bresee, and Khalen Saunders are ahead of him on the depth chart. It’ll be either Boyd, John Penisini, Jack Heflin, or Kyler Baugh taking the fourth spot in the rotation which Malcolm Roach vacated by signing with the Denver Broncos. That’s a great opportunity. Now he needs to seize it. If he can make an impact early on, he might push Saunders aside as the team’s primary nose tackle. But that’s easier said than done when making the leap from a small school like Northern Iowa. Just ask Trevor Penning.

Story originally appeared on Saints Wire