Ahead of the NFL draft on April 23, teams are reaching out to the three-man team at Slants for tracking data based on college video footage.
Many coaches and scouts have had to rely primarily on watching footage of college games to make decisions due to COVID-19.
However, watching video cannot replace meeting prospects at pro days or private workouts. Enter Slants, a start-up founded by two former college roommates.
The current Google employees have tried to fill the void via artificial intelligence that analyzes videos of college football games. The technology identifies formations, routes, and tracking metrics.
Company co-founder, Omar Ajmeri has been showing the technology to NFL teams for three years.
“The teams don’t have any data on many college players, which is why they want to get up close at the combine and at pro days,” said Ajmeri to The New York Times. “After pro days were shut down, teams called and asked about our analytics. We collect tracking data not available anywhere else.”
The New Scouts
Before travel restrictions, teams saw some of the 300 top draft prospects at the college scouting combine in late February. However, scouts are still in the blind. There are literally hundreds of college players enrolled at smaller schools, recovering from injury or who received less playing time.
However, many NFL teams have been sending Slants video of plays from college games for predictive statistics on players.
Of particular interest are wide receivers, running backs and defensive backs. In addition, some teams are using Slants’ research to confirm their own scout’s data on players.
“It kind of feels guilty to say with everything going on in the world, but it’s helped show people the value of this technology,” said Ali Shah, the company’s other co-founder.