Los Angeles Rams Rated NFL’s Least Athletic Team. Does It Matter?

Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Relative Athletic Score (RAS) has become a tool for fans and analysts to quickly gauge an individual player’s athleticism. Its red, yellow, and green color code makes it easy to attempt to understand how fast or explosive a player is based on their NFL Combine measurable.

When looking at the Los Angeles Rams from this vantage point, they don’t fare very well. RAS founder, Kent Lee Platte recently ranked each team on their collective Relative Athletic Scores and the Rams wound up at the very bottom. But what does that mean?

Los Angeles Rams Non-Traditional Scouting Methods

The Rams haven’t used traditional scouting methods to identify talent. One look at Puka Nacua’s RAS and one would understand why he wasn’t selected until the 5th round, but his production on the NFL field proves otherwise. Nacua is just one example of noisy statistics interfering with scouting football talent.

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Elite size and athleticism are coveted in the NFL, but that will only get you so far. Similarly, if a soccer player is scouted as ‘athletic’ it can actually be seen as a downside; that player may rely too heavily on their ability to outperform rather than outthink an opponent.

Essentially, a part of the reason why the Rams are in last place is that they don’t highly value the data that is provided by these measurements, leaning on GPS tracking or, in Nacua’s case, his draft class-fastest gauntlet time.

Relative Athletic Score and Determining Quality Football Teams

Furthermore, zooming out a bit proves that a high team RAS doesn’t lead to winning football games. Mr. Platte’s tweet points out that the Rams haven’t had a high RAS score for over 15 years. In that time, they have fielded some of the worst teams in the league, but have also made two Super Bowls.

Not only that but several playoff teams made the bottom 10 least athletic teams. The Miami Dolphins and San Francisco 49ers are 22nd and 23rd respectively. The Cincinnati Bengals; 30. Buffalo Bills are 29th. Meanwhile, the Indianapolis Colts lead the pack with the highest RAS.

Unfortunately, RAS doesn’t determine whether a team will be good or bad, nor can it alone determine if a player will succeed or fail.

NFL: Los Angeles Rams-OTA
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports