Kwesi Adofo-Mensah has a secret weapon with his NFL Draft strategy

The Minnesota Vikings hired Kwesi Adofo-Mensah as their general manager in January of 2002. When he took the job as the analytics general manager, there were major questions on how he would approach team building. 

Would he try to Moneyball things? What will his process be? Analytics in itself is a broad term that covers any analysis of data. Trying to figure out what he would do to put together a potential Super Bowl contender has proven to be both an interesting and daunting task.

We thought that things were relatively figured out heading into his second NFL draft, but how he approached things brought many more questions.

Vikings NFL Draft strategy under Kwesi Adofo-Mensah

In 2022, Adofo-Mensah seemingly prioritized players with a great 10-yard split. That explosiveness was all across the board matched what they wanted to do on defense under Ed Donatell. It’s also a good measure for overall athleticism.

When the 2023 NFL Draft came around, the process shifted completely. No longer were Relative Athletic Score or the 10-yard split a priority. What happened to change his strategy? It appears that GPS tracking data is the culprit.

Pro Football Focus’ Max Chadwick appeared on The Real Forno Show and was asked specifically about why the Vikings guaranteed Jeshaun Jones $225k. The answer was rooted in that GPS tracking data.

“Yeah, I liked him a lot and he is a really good athlete. I don’t know if I would have taken him in the draft, I think an undrafted free agent is probaably what I expected out of him honestly. But he is a really good athlete, we actually have a metric at PFF that we just got a couple years ago called Game Athleticism Score which basically measures how fast you are, your agility, your change of direction and all athat and compiles it together using GPS tracking data. Jones tested out as a 93rd perceltile athlete in 2022 and and 81st percentie athlete in 2023.”

Jones’ two torn ACLs also play a factor into why he went undrafted, but taking a shot on a player who has that kind of athleticism is a great bet to make. Jones isn’t the only one either that has great GPS tracking data.

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GPS tracking data is relatively new in the NFL but it’s being used by a lot of teams, including the Vikings. That data seemed to work in 2023 when they hit on both wide receiver Jordan Addison and cornerback Mekhi Blackmon.

If this continues to work for the Vikings, it will be fascinating to see how it manifests both in Minnesota and the growth around the league.

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