AI Tech Startup Slants Helping NFL Scouts Analyze Film From Home
Video alone is "not a replacement for meeting prospects at pro days or private workouts," and artificial intelligence tech startup Slants has "tried to fill the void" for NFL scouts, according to Ken Belson of the N.Y. TIMES. The company’s AI technology "analyzes video of college football games to identify formations, routes and tracking metrics, like a player’s speed, so that coaches can better evaluate players." Slants co-Founder & CEO Omar Ajmeri, who has been showing the technology to NFL teams for three years, said, “After pro days were shut down, teams called and asked about our analytics. We collect tracking data not available anywhere else.” Belson notes in the past month, more NFL teams have been "sending Slants video of dozens of plays from college games and asking for predictive statistics on players -- particularly wide receivers, running backs and defensive backs." Some teams are using Slants’ findings to "confirm data that their scouts collected in games or drills," and in other cases, Slants is "providing new information." Slants’ data collecting still is "being refined." The company "does not use expensive footage from TV broadcasts." Rather, it "analyzes video from the so-called All 22 camera angle above the 50-yard line taken by college football assistants." Unlike other tracking technology, Slants "does not require any equipment in stadiums and it can analyze game footage from years ago," before the NFL "began tracking players" (N.Y. TIMES, 4/17).