Sunday, May 5, 2013

Nick Driskill: The Mighty Mouse

Nick Driskill is a player I wanted to mention, even though there is an extremely good chance that nobody will ever hear from him again.  He played strong safety at Mt. Union.  He didn't get drafted, but was picked up as an undrafted free agent by the Colts.  I really have no idea what to make of him, but some of the numbers that make up his story are just fascinating.

Here are his stats from college:

            TKL    SACK       TFL    INT    Passes Broken Up    FF
2012    101         3          14.5      2               11                     3
2011    113        6.5         17        4                9                      1
2010     80          3          13.5      5                4                     2
2009     43         0.5         6.5       1                3                      1 

Those are the kinds of stats that should only exist in a video game.  They are absolutely silly.  Granted, he played at a rather goofy school, though Cecil Shorts and Pierre Garcon also went there.  Even if you wanted to downplay his production, how could you?  He dominated every defensive statistical category there is, at least by the standards of a defensive back.  How many defensive backs finish school with 13 sacks, 12 interceptions, 7 forced fumbles, and two seasons of triple digit tackles?  That doesn't even mention his 51.5 tackles for a loss.  He must have been constantly killing people behind the line of scrimmage, because a lot of defensive ends who get taken in the first round don't have those kinds of stats.  His opponents at Heidelberg University, Muskingum University, and Baldwin Wallace, must have been trembling in their boots (wherever the hell these schools are)!

I don't know how he accumulated these stats.  Watching Mt. Union play isn't something I get much opportunity to do (and is probably something I would avoid).  Were they running some peculiar defense, with the coach saying, "Funnel all the plays to Driskill!  I've got to make that kid a star to win a bet with my buddy at Marietta!".  I have no idea.  This is the only clip I can find of him playing, and it doesn't tell you very much.

There is a catch though.  He is 5' 8.5" tall (that half inch matters here!), and 197 pounds.  He is a bit on the short side.  You definitely aren't going to want him covering tightends.  His pro day results (since guys like him don't get invited to the combine) were merely average, except for his vertical jump, broad jump and bench press.  Strangely, the Mayor of Munchkinland's bench press results were better than what most offensive linemen achieve, though this is of questionable value.  The numbers sort of tell the story of a guy who is explosive, quick and powerful, but not necessarily fast or exceptionally agile.  Here are his results, along with some other comparable midgets.

Player                     Ht       Wt    40-yd   10-yd   BP   Vert     BJ    Shrt-Shut    3-cone
Nick Driskill            5' 8.5"   197    4.53     1.53    29      43    10'8"     4.16         7.00
Cortland Finnegan   5' 9.5"   188    4.34        ?      14      44    10'8"     4.34         6.95
Brent Grimes          5' 9.2"   177    4.57        ?       4      33.5  10' 1"    4.25         7.13
Dre Bly                   5' 9.7"   186    4.51     1.58     ?      34.5   9'6"      4.09         7.11
Bob Sanders           5' 8.3"   204    4.35     1.50    15     41.5  10' 8"    3.95         6.70

Some of these players are clearly faster.  Some are more nimble.  Almost all of them are oddballs with significant physical shortcomings, but also some areas of strength.  The player I would really like to compare him to is Jim Leonard, who was also a very dynamic toadstool, but I don't have combine data for him.  Honestly, I probably wouldn't have bet on any of theses guys achieving much success.  In Nick Driskill's case, I still probably wouldn't bet on him.  In three years, I would place the odds strongly in favor of him becoming a special teams player at best, or a Winnipeg Blue Bomber at worst.  Still, even though it runs contrary to my normal views on players like him, I don't want to bet against him.  Those ridiculous stats of his, as well as my love of a good vertical jump, just intrigue me too much.

I'm going to take the cowardly approach.  I'm mentioning him in hopes that he becomes something special, in which case I will look like a clever boy.  Yet, I am kind of betting against him, because I am feeling a bit gutless and know the odds are against him.  If I do this a hundred times, eventually something prophetic will come out of my mouth, and then I'll just need to delete every post where I said something stupid.

Oh, and he was a biology major.  So, perhaps with a little tweaking we could nudge a chromosome here and there, to make him a bit taller and faster.

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