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 Post subject: Do 40 Times Really Matter?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 22, 2010 7:42 pm 
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Diner morning news: Do 40 times really matter?

Measuring a player’s combine speed isn’t always easy. Michael Lombardi
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QUOTE: “It is by presence of mind in untried emergencies that the native metal of a man is tested.” -- Abraham Lincoln

The question most often asked at the NFL Combine this week will be, “What did you run?” No other event will generate more interest than the 40-yard dash. Paul Brown, the great Browns coach and Bengals founder, never could have imagined that the test he invented would become so significant and vital in evaluating potential NFL players. But does the 40 really matter? Jerry Rice and Emmitt Smith both will enter the Hall of Fame this year, yet their 40 times were not Hall of Fame-worthy. So is this test the real deal when evaluating prospects? For example, have you ever heard of Greg Richardson from Alabama? He ran 4.26 and 4.28 in 1987 and was drafted in the sixth round by the Colts, but he never played for them and bounced around the league, spending just two years in the NFL.

Deion SandersAPThe electric Deion Sanders

For every Deion Sanders or Rod Woodson, there are many players who can run fast in a straight line but are not football players. In evaluating, there has to be a balance between 40 times and the actual playing of the game. When I worked at the Hotel, the 40 times dictated the level of interest we had in a prospect. Everyone in the building knew that if a guy ran extremely fast and had size, he would become a favorite of the owner. But running extremely fast for the league might not be fast for the Raiders. When the combine is over, the Raiders will add .04 to each player’s 40 time. For example, on all the Raiders’ combine sheets, the name Greg Richardson would appear, but instead of his time reading 4.26, his Raider 40 would actually become 4.30. That slight change can mean the difference between a player being a potential draft pick and not being noticed. At the Raiders, the man who controls the 40 times controls the draft. And trust me, there’s manipulation of those times based on the interests of the scouts, not the coaches.

Starting this week, prospects will start running 40s to help their draft status. Some will run at the combine, some will run at their schools, some will run on grass, some will run on turf and some will run on a track. With all these times, which one do you use as the official time of the player? For me, I converted the times to grass, but if a player ran his best time at the combine, that would be his best time. The combine is a tough setting to run, so if a player ran fast there, that was his time — it became like a grass time. Any other turf times had to be converted to grass because turf runners are faster than grass runners and there has to be a level playing field for the 40. But each turf is different than the combine, and there has to be a way to actually convert the time, besides the random .04 added to the time. For example, over the years Florida State might have 10 players who have run at the combine and at the school. The variance of those times from surface to surface would be the number used in the conversion. So it was vital that we kept precise records of each school time as it related to the combine and loved players who ran 40s at both venues.

But what do you do with a player who has no data from his school to support the conversion and did not run at the combine? This is the hardest question to answer regarding the 40, and hopefully, the scout runs the player on a grass field. If not, then the time must be converted using .08, which is the universal conversion time from turf to grass.

Terrell SuggsAPBaltimore's Terrell Suggs didn't run a great 40 time coming out of Arizona State.

With all these conversion times, the real determining factor lies in the playing of the game. Playing speed is as vital as any 40 time, and often times good players play fast because they know how to play the game. Running a 40 without pads is great, but playing fast with pads on is what makes an NFL player. Terrell Suggs was a great pass rusher at Arizona State, but he never ran a good 40 time, which made many teams skeptical of his ability to translate his rushing skills to the NFL.

I remember working for the 49ers in 1986 when a pass-rushing specialist named Tim Harris from Memphis State could not run a 40 below 5.0. We were in search of a pass rusher and loved the way Harris played, but we worried that he was not going to be able to translate his skills to the NFL. Harris had enough skills to beat the tackles he faced, but Memphis was not the SEC, so he had to be projected to the next level and with a bad 40 time that made it difficult. I raked some serious frequent-flier miles going to Memphis that year but could never get Harris to run faster than 5.10 on grass, which made us pass on him and select Charles Haley instead. It worked out well, but Harris was a great pro and eventually ended up playing for the 49ers. The moral of this story is very simple: Trust your eyes from watching tape, not the 40 time.

So once the combine begins, teams must always think about game speed -- not necessarily the track events on the field.

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 Post subject: Re: Do 40 Times Really Matter?
PostPosted: Tue Feb 23, 2010 2:22 pm 
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I've said this for years. Watch the tapes of a player playing the game you are going to pay him for, rather than putting the emphasis on how he runs in shorts. The one thing that I do like about the 40 time is you get a chance to see an aspect of the players form and dedication.

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 Post subject: Re: Do 40 Times Really Matter?
PostPosted: Tue Feb 23, 2010 4:15 pm 
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I think the problem often lies with people using the 40 time as the end-all-be-all. Some prospects, it's very obvious on tape how fast they are. But then they may show up at Indianapolis or their pro day and not run as fast as they are expected. Then this becomes a reason why teams will drop a player on their boards because it somehow is a reflection of their lack of a work ethic.

The 40 time can be important however on players with questionable/borderline playing speed for their position. Like if you watch a player on film, and have concerns that he may not be fast enough to compete at a high level in the NFL, then the 40 time is going to weigh a lot more.

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 Post subject: Re: Do 40 Times Really Matter?
PostPosted: Tue Feb 23, 2010 5:00 pm 
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A well informed Scout can tell from watching the player on tape or in person. That is why you are seeing many Draft Rooms saying that their draft board is already finished. I would say that for me personally the 40 would help me in the 4th round onwards. There have been many a fast player fail in the NFL and many a "slow" player do well.

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 Post subject: Re: Do 40 Times Really Matter?
PostPosted: Tue Feb 23, 2010 7:15 pm 
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Don’t always buy into combine numbers

Prospects who shouldn’t be judged by 40 times or reps alone. Wes Bunting
February 23, 2010 Bookmark and Share Print This
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Every year, we see the stock of some very good draft prospects take a major hit because they don’t quite perform up to par at the NFL Combine. Case and point: Iowa’s Shonn Greene, who fell to the third round last year after posting a less than impressive 40 time. Today, the National Football Post highlights a group of players who might not run or work out as well as some others at their positions this week but have the game to make a difference in the NFL.

Anthony DixonAPMississippi State RB Anthony Dixon

RB Anthony Dixon, Mississippi State (6-1, 245)
Make no mistake, Dixon isn’t a guy who’s going to run away from NFL-caliber defensive backs once he gets to the second level. However, because of his combination of power, short-area quickness and acceleration, I still think he’s capable of creating his share of 20-plus-yard runs in the NFL because of his ability to break tackles. Dixon averaged over 5.0 yards per carry in 2009 running behind a poor offensive line in the SEC, the country’s toughest conference. He was consistently asked to make defenders miss behind the line of scrimmage while exhibiting impressive lateral quickness for a back his size. Again, he’s not going to blister a 4.4 in the 40 at this year’s combine, but he’s the type of back who can carry the load and be productive at the next level.

WR Dezmon Briscoe, Kansas (6-3, 200)
Briscoe is simply a wideout who plays faster than his times are going to indicate. He’s a bit of a strider who takes a couple of steps to reach full speed, but when he’s asked to get down the field, you can see on tape he has enough of a second gear to track the football vertically. Pair that with his impressive balance as a route runner, shiftiness off the line and vertical explosion, and you have a guy who can making a living on the outside, even with a 4.5-plus 40-time.

Right tackle who runs a 5.5-plus 40 time
It happens every year, a right tackle-only prospect who weighs in in the 325-pound range and runs a 5.5-plus 40, and right away he’s given a thumbs down from the media. But don’t forget that both Jeff Otah and Phil Loadholt ran in the 5.5-5.7 range at their respective combines and still went on to get drafted in the top two rounds and start as rookies. Athleticism is great for offensive linemen, but at the right tackle position, don’t put to much stock into the 40 times they post.

Long-armed left tackle who struggles put up 25-plus reps on the bench
There’s a reason so many short-armed, barrel-chested offensive linemen put up good numbers on the bench press -- they simply don’t have to lift the bar as high each time. When you think about it, there’s a big difference between an offensive tackle who has 32-inch arms compared to an guy who’s asked to lift the same weight but with a 34-inch reach. If you add up those two inches over the span of an entire workout, the distance quickly becomes significant. So if you see one of your favorite offensive tackles fail to measure up in the weight room with some of the others at the combine, be sure to check out his arm length first.

Jammie KirlewAPIndiana DE Jammie Kirlew

DE Jammie Kirlew, Indiana (6-2, 259)
Although he’s a bit undersized for the defensive end position, Kirlew showcases a good first step out of his stance with the lateral quickness and body control to side-step blocks and flatten out around the corner. Don’t rip the guy just because he’s small and might run in the 4.8 range. It’s not often a pass rusher is asked to track the quarterback 40 yards in order to create pressure, and Kirlew is certainly a guy whose 10-yard split will be more indicative of his NFL future than his 40 time. Either way, he’s a guy I really like in this year’s defensive end class, and although he might get overlooked because of his lack of ideal size/speed numbers, he still has the ability to get after the passer.

ILB Brandon Spikes, Florida (6-3, 256)
One guy who has really been forgotten in recent weeks due to the emergence of junior underclassmen entering the draft is Florida’s Brandon Spikes. Two of the main reasons for that: He plays the middle linebacker position, and he isn’t an elite-caliber athlete. But even though Spikes is expected to run in the mid/late 4.7 range and could even hit the low 4.8’s, fear not. As we’ve seen in the past, middle linebacker is all about instincts, redirection skills and the ability to quickly locate the football. That’s why we’ve seen guys like Lofa Tatupu and Ed Hartwell succeed in the NFL despite running less than impressive 40s at the combine.

S T.J. Ward, Oregon (5-10, 199)
Much like the middle linebacker position, safety is another place where instincts and fluidity reign over pure straight-line speed, which is exactly the case with Ward. He isn’t the biggest or fastest safety prospect, but he does a great job quickly finding the ball, keeping his feet under him and driving on the throw. He isn’t going to “wow” anyone at the weigh-in or with his 40 time, but Ward can cleanly get out of his breaks and is a football player in all areas of the game.

Follow me on Twitter: WesBunting

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 Post subject: Re: Do 40 Times Really Matter?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 24, 2010 4:02 pm 
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There are very specific players for whom the 40 and other drills are critical. Generally, comparing one guy in the SEC to another guy in the SEC isn't all that difficult.

The drills are handy to help establish a player's worth from D2 as compared to D1 (is that great corner playing at Eastern Alibaster State great because he's great, or because the guys he's covering can't run at all) and it's useful for some of the college overachievers. There are some guys who are able to get by in college on instincts and football smarts, even though they lack the pure "athleticism" for the NFL. The combine helps decipher if these are guys who can similarly get by in the NFL with their football smarts, or if they simply fall short in the NFL, and no amount of intangibles will aid it (4.6+ forty for corners, 4.7+ for safeties often are good examples of guys who could get by in college, but won't be able to make the leap in the NFL.)

However, more often that not, the info is used incorrectly. Our own Jenkins ran a 4.3x after people assumed he was a 4.6 receiver, and then shot up draft boards. However, people thought he was a 4.6 receiver because he plays like a 4.6 receiver. His straight line speed turned out to be better than expected, but the cuts, 2 step burst, overall acceleration, etc. were all the things that went toward making people think he wasn't that fast...and they let the combine 40 time counter their eyes.

2 step burst is more important in almost every position than 40, so some guys with very good short area quickness and poor top end speed will drop down the boards. These are always the guys I'd like to take. Corner, and, less so, WR are the only two positions in which top speed truly matters, and even in those 2 step burst is more important.

Cone drills and things of that nature should be a better gauge, but tend to be more of a gauge of whether people rehearsed the drill, than actually of the burst, turn, acceleration they're supposed to test.


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 Post subject: Re: Do 40 Times Really Matter?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 24, 2010 4:48 pm 
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I would never use the word "critical" when describing the 40 @ the combine. Teams are starting to back off the "wow" aspects of the fast times. It was a fad.

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 Post subject: Re: Do 40 Times Really Matter?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 24, 2010 5:04 pm 
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I believe Ronde Barber ran a 4.6 40 at the Combine when he came out. And as such, he dropped to the 3rd round of the 1997 draft and became one of the 5 best corners of the past decade.

One of the issues you have to deal with when it comes to the Combine, is the business that surrounds it. Almost every draft prospect once his bowl game is over, is at some camp, facility, gym, that was hired by his agent to show him how to run all of the drills at the Combine, in order to maximize their stock.

It leads to inauthentic results because over the course of a month or so you, can probably shave tenths of seconds off your times in all of the events.

So if Barber was coming out today, he'd probably run a 4.48. If Finneran came out today, he'd probably run the same.

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 Post subject: Re: Do 40 Times Really Matter?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 24, 2010 5:57 pm 
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Pudge wrote:
I believe Ronde Barber ran a 4.6 40 at the Combine when he came out. And as such, he dropped to the 3rd round of the 1997 draft and became one of the 5 best corners of the past decade.

One of the issues you have to deal with when it comes to the Combine, is the business that surrounds it. Almost every draft prospect once his bowl game is over, is at some camp, facility, gym, that was hired by his agent to show him how to run all of the drills at the Combine, in order to maximize their stock.

It leads to inauthentic results because over the course of a month or so you, can probably shave tenths of seconds off your times in all of the events.

So if Barber was coming out today, he'd probably run a 4.48. If Finneran came out today, he'd probably run the same.


Yes. It's more important for the ones that "don't" make it, than the ones that do.

A 4.3 forty shouldn't vault someone up your board that much. However, a 4.75 forty should push some down the board. It means they either a) didn't put in the required effort or b) even after putting in the effort are just that slow.

I think, as I said, it is critical for a very small number of players. For most others, it's a tiebreaker. I always like the 4.6 guys, as I said, if they have quickness, because you can typically get them for below their value.

I'm pretty sure most teams have learned better than to vault a guy two rounds due to his 40, but it's wise to understand where the rough cutoff is for mimimal skills at a given position, and act accordingly.

I find some of the other drills more theoretically useful, but have been surprised by multiple studies showing 40 time is the most consistently reliable drill by position. I can't wrap my head around it, as 3 cone, short shuttle, etc. seem more important to me, but there it is.

Regardless, going in, you should know which players you're really looking at their 40 (or their bench reps, etc.) and it should only be a very small number.


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 Post subject: Re: Do 40 Times Really Matter?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 24, 2010 6:03 pm 
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BirdBrain wrote:
I would never use the word "critical" when describing the 40 @ the combine. Teams are starting to back off the "wow" aspects of the fast times. It was a fad.


Hence why I mentioned the "very specific players" aspect. For that free safety, who you know is slower than you prefer, but you think his instincts may make up for it, the difference in a 4.58 and a 4.75 are pretty huge. It's only those players for whom the question has already been raised that these tests should be important. At 4.58, you figure his knack for identifying the play and positioning well makes up for it. At 4.75, he probably is simply a liability.

But it's insane to judge combine in a vacuum. 4.58 is irrelevant in and of itself. Too slow if the guy relies solely on his athleticism and isn't a hardworker. Just fast enough if he is a great all around player and the only question was speed. It's sometimes hard to gauge safeties speed from college due to the vast differences in the ways they are utilized.


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 Post subject: Re: Do 40 Times Really Matter?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 24, 2010 10:58 pm 
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I disagree, regardless of how good a 40 a guy runs, or how bad he runs, it shouldn't make that much difference in how you evaluate him.

If a cornerback runs a 4.75 40, then I'll be like that's bad. But if I pop in the tape and see that he plays faster than that (like he appears to have 4.5 speed), then I'm not going to care about his 40. The same would apply if he clocked a 4.35 40 at the Combine. And when I pop in the tape, I'll be wondering, why doesn't he play this fast in pads?

When Ray Rice came out, I estimated from watching him play at Rutgers, that he had 4.55 speed. He ran a 4.40 40. Now in watching him play this past year in Baltimore, he played much closer to the time he ran at the Combine. But regardless, for Ray Rice his 40 time had little impact on his draft stock in my eyes, just that he may be a little quicker than I initially thought.

Again, the Combine tests are only for borderline prospects that you're not 100% sure how quick/fast/strong they are from watching tape. For example, a player like Kyle Wilson, who on tape I question whether he has the speed to really cover the deep ball well. But even if he ran a 4.12, I would still have questions about that. But if he does run a good 40 (sub 4.5), then I will have less concerns. But if he was to run a 4.65, it wouldn't really affect how I evaluate him either because it only "confirms" what I saw on tape in that he has questionable speed. So for a guy like Wilson if I have an early-to-mid 2nd round grade on him, if he tests well I might bump him up to a late 1st, but that's really about it. Nobody should jump 2 rounds (or be dropped) 2 rounds by anything they do at the Combine, unless they murder a janitor in the RCA Dome. If you're doing that, then you have done a poor job in your evaluation of the guy on tape.

I'm interested in what players run and do in the drills, but the Combine tests should only be used as a confirmation of what you've already seen on tape.

But leading up to the Combine, draft evaluations should be like 80% complete for all players. And probably of the remainder, 10% of that is medical checks, another 8% is interviews, and 2% should be how well they test.

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 Post subject: Re: Do 40 Times Really Matter?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 25, 2010 2:06 am 
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Pudge wrote:
I disagree, regardless of how good a 40 a guy runs, or how bad he runs, it shouldn't make that much difference in how you evaluate him.



Again, the Combine tests are only for borderline prospects that you're not 100% sure how quick/fast/strong they are from watching tape. For example, a player like Kyle Wilson, who on tape I question whether he has the speed to really cover the deep ball well. But even if he ran a 4.12, I would still have questions about that. But if he does run a good 40 (sub 4.5), then I will have less concerns. But if he was to run a 4.65, it wouldn't really affect how I evaluate him either because it only "confirms" what I saw on tape in that he has questionable speed. So for a guy like Wilson if I have an early-to-mid 2nd round grade on him, if he tests well I might bump him up to a late 1st, but that's really about it. Nobody should jump 2 rounds (or be dropped) 2 rounds by anything they do at the Combine, unless they murder a janitor in the RCA Dome. If you're doing that, then you have done a poor job in your evaluation of the guy on tape.

I'm interested in what players run and do in the drills, but the Combine tests should only be used as a confirmation of what you've already seen on tape.

But leading up to the Combine, draft evaluations should be like 80% complete for all players. And probably of the remainder, 10% of that is medical checks, another 8% is interviews, and 2% should be how well they test.


I don't understand how you disagree. It seems you're saying basically the same thing I did. On questionable guys (certain specific people) for whom there is already a question, that particular drill can help clarify the answer. As in your Wilson example, he could move from mid second to late first, or late 2nd, with the difference between a 4.45 and a 4.62.

You mainly look at what kind of football player they are, but there are those for whom you want a comparison.

I do find it is more useful for certain prospects (like safety.) There are numerous safeties considered to be decent/high level strong safeties, who drop 3 rounds due to times. This doesn't happen on corner as much because it's obvious on tape, and doesn't happen on RBs as much, because 40 speed doesn't much matter.

The difference between a 4.4 and a 4.5 isn't relevant for most positions, but the difference between a 4.6 and a 4.75 is a pretty big thing for positions like safety and RB.

I'm not arguing for it being the main thing. My argument is 90% is non agility test related. However, I think it's swinging too far in the opposite direction to claim these things are useless.

If I said to scouts "hey guys, we can have all these guys run, jump, lift weights, and do drills on an even playing field, on the same day...do you guys think that would be helpful," I'm doubting they think it's useless. It's a piece of information. If you treat it as such, it can be valuable. If you treat it as THE piece of information, overriding watching tape, you've made a big mistake.


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 Post subject: Re: Do 40 Times Really Matter?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 25, 2010 3:41 am 
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The reality is that what guys do at the Combine does dramatically impact their draft status, but what I'm saying for a lot of players it shouldn't even matter.

I used Wilson as an example, because regardless of how fast he runs or well he tests at the Combine, it won't change my general opinion about him. It may only slight change one aspect of his game, in that on tape he had some issues playing the deep ball from what I saw. And if he ran a fast 40, I'd be less concerned about that aspect of his game, but it wouldn't make me change my opinion about his ability to play the deep ball. It would still remain a question mark in my eyes, just less of one.

But again the reality is that his 40 time is going to matter with his draft stock. He's going to have to run a certain time in order to solidify himself as a 1st round pick league-wide (where my opinion counts for jack squat). As illustrated in this thread, if he wants to solidify himself as one of those 2nd tier corners that is going to be drafted somewhere after Haden in Round 1, he'll probably have to run a 40 under 4.5. Just like at WR, in order to be a first round pick at WR, you have to run under 4.5 as well. One of the last times a WR was drafted in the Round 1 that didn't run under 4.5, it was Rod Gardner in 2001, who had 7 lackluster NFL seasons, only confirming in the eyes of NFL people that you should never take a guy that runs a 4.55 in the 1st. The thing that I find funny is how many busts have been drafted since then at WR in Round 1 simply because they had a good 40.

In the NFL, you need certain triangle numbers (size, speed, strength) to be a 1st round receiver. At least 6-0, 185 pounds, and run a 4.45. Occasionally, shorter or slower guys will sneak in, but it's not very common, and it usually has to be from a player that is unquestioningly good despite his "limitations." Me on the other hand, I judge if a WR is a 1st round vs. 2nd round pick based on whether I believe he can be a No. 1 receiver vs. being a No. 2 or No. 3 receiver. Only 2 receivers IMO meet those requirements this year: Bryant and Benn. And what they do or any other WR does at Indianapolis doesn't change that belief one bit with me. I think Demaryius Thomas has that potential, but there are too many question marks about him that would allow me to invest a #1 in him.

Because while teams constantly deny it, the evidence clearly shows that teams have certain size/speed requirements that determine a guy's draft stock. A lot of their scouting is done on paper, not on film.

As I was trying to say, how fast/slow Wilson runs, has very little impact on how I view him as a player. I already have the opinion that Wilson is a player that can excel in a Tampa-2 scheme like Ronde Barber, but also be very good in a man scheme as well. And if he runs a 4.65 40 this weekend, then it'll only confirm that belief. If he runs a 4.42 40, then it'll just mean he's a little quicker than I already thought, and my evaluation of him doesn't change.

To summarize, what a guy does at Indy may tweak my opinion about certain aspects of his game, but not change my opinion about the player. But if Jonathan Dwyer runs a 4.38 40 this weekend, I'm not going to label him a speed back. I'll just say that he had a really good trainer. Tape never lies. The Combine workout can.

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 Post subject: Re: Do 40 Times Really Matter?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 25, 2010 4:19 am 
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I think we're in violent agreement.

Tape is the vast majority, combine should be a small factor. I agree many rely on it a lot, and that doesn't work well. A receiver who couldn't get open against D1 or D2 competition, won't mysteriously be able to against NFL competition because he ran a 4.37.

I was just saying it's not as useless as some make it out to be. As with any backlash, often the pendulum swings too far in a direction. The combine is far from useless. You just have to carefully select what information you don't have that it can help provide. You should be able to get almost all of it from tape.

If they ever are able to create a test to definitively measure 2 step burst, I'll start to believe more in testing.


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 Post subject: Re: Do 40 Times Really Matter?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 25, 2010 11:59 am 
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40 time is what dropped Brandon Flowers stock so much. Mayock and everyone else had him as the #1 CB after the season (when you watching actual football games to make an analysis). Then he run slow at the combine and ended up as a 2nd round pick. Like the 40 all of a sudden meant all that tape had become worthless. Looks like he's played well in KC thus far, esp for a second round pick.

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 Post subject: Re: Do 40 Times Really Matter?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 25, 2010 12:24 pm 
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widetrak21 wrote:
40 time is what dropped Brandon Flowers stock so much. Mayock and everyone else had him as the #1 CB after the season (when you watching actual football games to make an analysis). Then he run slow at the combine and ended up as a 2nd round pick. Like the 40 all of a sudden meant all that tape had become worthless. Looks like he's played well in KC thus far, esp for a second round pick.


Flowers was my 3rd rated CB before the combine, mainly due to his size, and his already well known lack of speed. I think quite a few others had McKelvin, Tahib ,Cromartie or Jenkins ahead of him as well.Had he stayed in school, he would have been a sure fire 1st rounder. He really wasn't that far off anyway...

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 Post subject: Re: Do 40 Times Really Matter?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 25, 2010 3:16 pm 
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A perfect illustration of the traps of the Combine is what is occuring on Rotoworld.com right now.

Former scout Daniel Jeremiah has been tweeted all day the weigh-in numbers of the OTs and TEs this morning. And Rotoworld is posting them on their site. But in their little analysis blurb, they are using these stats to determine whether guys will be LTs vs. RTs, and what round they will go in.

Look obviously, Rotoworld.com isn't a trusted source in terms of draft analysis and can (or should be) taken with a grain of salt. But it illustrates perfectly the trap that the Combine can present with judging too much a players' ability on paper rather than tape. Just because a guy is an inch too short or 10 pounds too light, or his arms are 2 inches too short should not have a dramatic impact on his draft stock.

If a guy plays like he has short arms, then the fact that his arms only measure 32.75 inches would be a concern. But if the tape says a guy's arms aren't a liability, then it shouldn't matter how short his arms are. That's the difference between Jake long and Sam Baker. And despite Baker's arms being 3/8 inches longer than Long's, I would be far more concerned about his arm length than Long's despite paper telling me otherwise.

The Combine ain't useless, the drills, and measurements and such. But at the end of the day, if you're bumping up or knocking down a guy more than 10 draft spots because of any of the tests at the Combine, then you're doing something wrong. There should be no surprises at the Combine. If there are, you're not doing your job.

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 Post subject: Re: Do 40 Times Really Matter?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 25, 2010 11:04 pm 
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I tend to go with what BB said from the 4th round later speed or physical characterisitics might make you take a player over another.It's an interesting debate and remember football IQ trumps all else in usually deciding how players will do.Do they have the desire since many players when they get paid millions tend to relax and don't work as hard.The right system very important Ronde Barber may have ran a 4.6 but the Tampa 2 defense was perfect him.

Can some players with the right coaching improve.Sure and that's another decision that must be made.Forty times look pretty on paper but it shouldn't be the deciding factor on taking a player.

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