How Do 40 Times Change From Round to Round? A Study Using a Flimsy Question to Show Off a Cool Tableau Feature

In the months leading up to the NFL Draft, potential players are poked, prodded, and tested in just about every imaginable way.  Perhaps the most well-known of all of these measurements taken by teams is the 40-yard dash, which is the agreed-upon way to test speed of players.

Today we are going to take a look at how the average 40 times change by round.  Is there a direct relationship between draft round and 40 time?  Let's find out!

To begin, I have connected Tableau to a table showing 40 times for all draft picks from 1999-2015. 

Once the data was uploaded, I created a simple bar chart showing average 40 yard dash times by position.

Once the basics were there, I color-coded the positions and grouped them to clean up the view (Offensive Linemen, Defensive Linemen, Defensive Backs, and Linebackers were put into their own categories, and special teams players were removed).  This resulted in the view below.

Ok, it at least looks better than Excel now.  But this doesn't answer the question we originally posed, and it certainly is not a cool Tableau feature!  So let's dive deeper.  How can we show the round-by-round comparison? 

Pages!  Pages is a new-ish feature for Tableau that allows us to animate our graphs based on an attribute.  In this case, I will use the round of the draft.

To do this, I just drag round onto the Pages card as is shown below.

By doing this there is now a new control under our color legend, that will allow for scrolling the graph by draft round, and even allows animation!  The control, and an explanation of its features, is below.

These controls allow us not only to scroll from round to round, but to let Tableau do it automatically for us!  Let's take a look at our updated graph (first round and seventh round).

If you look closely you can see some differences, but it doesn't really "pop".  Let's make a few more small changes (fix the axis, clean up the titles). 

There you have it!  We can now clearly see the rise in times from the first round to the seventh.  This is even more apparent when you animate the graph using the page feature.

I hope you enjoyed this demo of the page feature thinly veiled as draft analysis! 

Author: Chris Bick