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Seattle Seahawks using formula to find future stars?

When we studied NFL roster construction back in February, the Seattle Seahawks stood out for their proliferation of successful late-round draft picks.

Are the bold, unconventional Super Bowl champions benefiting from a secret formula that allows them to identify high-class athletes falling through the draft's cracks?

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As it turns out, that might be exactly the case.

The fine folks at SB Nation's Field Gulls blog have detailed coach Pete Carroll's connection to Nike's SPARQ rating, a formula developed with the help of Seahawks strength and conditioning coach Chris Carlisle.

While the organization has been coy about the proprietary data that factors into their hunt for uniquely gifted athletes, Carroll has acknowledged SPARQ's influence during his "Win Forever" talks at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center.

The SPARQ score is calculated via five components: player's weight, 40-yard dash time, 20-yard shuttle, vertical jump and kneeling powerball toss.

The NFL Scouting Combine's bench press results may be cited in lieu of the powerball toss. In addition, general manager John Schneider has specifically mentioned the 10-yard split to grade offensive linemen and the broad jump for its general influence.

Per Field Gulls, Seattle's 2013 draft class boasted the NFL's highest collective SPARQ score. The early indications from 2014 calculations suggest a repeat for this year's class.

Among the Seahawks' late-round SPARQ stars are Super Bowl MVP Malcolm Smith, tight end Luke Willson, wide receiver Jermaine Kearse and special-teams dynamo Jeremy Lane.

There is more SPARQ-sanctioned help on the way.

The coaching staff has spent the offseason lavishing praise on "Making the Leap" candidate Christine Michael and third-year linebacker Korey Toomer, the two players with the highest SPARQ scores on the roster.

Within a week's span this offseason, Carroll anointed Toomer "the hottest guy in camp" and "the brightest guy in the whole camp."

The coaching staff is also counting on recent draft picks such as wide receiver Paul Richardson, linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis, cornerback Tharold Simon, defensive end Greg Scruggs and defensive tackle Jesse Williams and Jordan Hill to contribute after losing several key veterans in free agency.

To be sure, the Seahawks aren't alone in utilizing cutting-edge athletic performance technology.

Early in the offseason, the Falcons announced a partnership with Silicon Valley-based Sparta Software Corp., which developed the Force Plate test to measure Jadeveon Clowney's physical tools, movement and injury risk -- among other factors.

At least one Eagles player believes Chip Kelly's methods -- including heart monitors, customized sleeping tests, science-based music selections and other experiments -- will revolutionize the NFL.

The Seahawks themselves use an iPad app with Neurotopia brain-performance testing to get a better handle on psychological factors that potentially affect a player's career.

In a $10 billion industry, these measures are just the tip of the iceberg. The evolution of the NFL will feature more testing devoted to the physical and mental well-being of America's most gifted athletes.

The latest "Around The League Podcast" debates Jay Cutler's ceiling and looks back at the NFL in the '90s.

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