Archive for June, 2009

40 yard dash all the rage…does it really matter? Is the 40 predictable?

Thursday, June 25th, 2009

Posted by Mark Branstad – Football Talent Advisors

I was intrigued by a recent article, panel discussion to be more accurate, on CFN.com about whether the 40 yard dash really matters?  Now don’t get me wrong this is not a cutting-edge debate.  This is not a new topic by any means and certainly buzz about the 40 isn’t going to go away anytime soon.  But I was amazed by the drastic variance of opinions about this rather simple “test of speed”.  For clarity though I do tend to agree with Pete Fiutak’s point-of-view, which basically states that players that time slow better have all the intagibles to make it right on the field.

So I’ll ask, does the 40 really matter?  Answer – Well it depends on what player runs it and how the test is administered.  Maybe a more important question to understand this whole thing is finding out which players have run the fastest “official” 40?  Answer – Well again it depends on what information source you care to believe. 

Here are a few of the mythical times I’ve seen in print and heard from the NFL Combine over the years…Darrell Green (4.09), Bo Jackson (4.12), Deion Sanders (anywhere from 4.19-4.28), Rod Woodson (low 4.2s) and Dante Hall (low 4.2s).  Did any of those players really run that fast?  I doubt it and according to Frank Cooney of NFLDraftScout.com the timing methods and testing environments at the NFL Combine have undergone several changes over the years. 

And of course there’s always the conventional argument stating the 40 is a bogus “test of speed” for football because most players seldom if ever run that far at one time during the course of a game.  The vaildity argument has been challenged recently by TheFootballOutsiders.com and it is a strong challenge to say the least.  They’ve shown for running backs, at the very least, the 40 does provide a direct correlation to success in the NFL.  

I wanted to take a closer look at whether there’s any crossover high school track data that might indicate a player’s ability to run a “fast” 40.  Let’s look at this in a way only FTA would care to…crunch some track stats!  Now for sure we’re not going to waste time looking at 40 dash times of lineman and try to correlate between throwing the shot put and running the 40 (there’s no stat manipulation that will make it work). 

Let’s look at the fastest 40 times run at the NFL Combine since 2000, as compiled by Frank Cooney and  www.NFLDraftScout.com, and the corresponding high school track statistics of the players. I can already tell you…the 100 meter dash and 40 are correlated.  Players that run 11.5 in the 100 can’t  legitimately run 4.4, 4.5, or even 4.6 in the 40…the recruiting sites should learn this!

Fastest 40-Yard Dash Times (NFL Combine 2000-2008)
*High School stats gathered and compiled by Football Talent Advisors
*FAT = Fully Automatic Timing
Player    40 Time Year HS 100  HS 200  HS 4X100 & 4X200 HS 55 
Chris Johnson (RB)  4.24  2008 10.66 FAT 21.30 FAT 41.11 FAT
Stanford Routt (CB)  4.27  2005 10.56 FAT 20.74 FAT      
Jerome Mathis (WR) 4.28  2005 10.87 FAT 21.68 FAT    6.42 FAT  
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (CB) 4.29  2008 10.75 FAT       
Fabian Washington (CB) 4.29  2005 10.90 FAT
Darrent Williams (CB) 4.30  2005     40.39 FAT / 1:25.99 FAT
Yamon Figurs (WR)  4.30  2007 11.01 FAT 22.18 FAT 
Justin King (CB)  4.31  2008 10.96 FAT 22.49 FAT
Tyvon Branch (CB)  4.31  2008 10.61 FAT 21.37 FAT    6.82 FAT (60)
Michael Waddell (CB) 4.31  2004 10.80 FAT
Aaron Lockett (WR)  4.31  2002 10.57 FAT   41.21 FAT
Santana Moss (WR) 4.31  2001 N / A – (Triple Jump & Long Jump & 4X400 State Champion)
Johnathan Joesph (CB) 4.31  2006     43.40 FAT
Tim Carter (WR)  4.32  2002 N / A – (300 hurdles State Champion)
Orlando Scandrick (CB) 4.32  2008 N / A
Chris McKenzie (CB) 4.32  2005 N / A
Kevin Garrett (CB)  4.32  2003 10.55 FAT
Jason Hill (WR)  4.32  2007 N / A
Chris Houston (CB)  4.32  2005 N / A
Troy Williamson (WR) 4.32  2005 10.35 FAT 21.48 FAT
Chad Jackson (WR)  4.32  2006 11.01 FAT   43.01 FAT
Tim Jennings (CB)  4.32  2006 10.87 FAT 22.43 FAT 42.50 FAT  6.41 FAT
Carlos Francis (WR) 4.33  2004 10.44 FAT 21.30 FAT
Darren McFadden (RB) 4.33  2008 10.80 (Hand-held)
Chris Chambers (WR) 4.33  2001   21.40 FAT

Clearly there’s a correlation between the 40 yard to 100 meter distance and maybe even the 200.  Keep in mind too that Champ Bailey ran 4.28 in 1999…he long jumped 25-10 in college and over 24-00 in high school and 6-09 as a high jumper.   

* What about the guy that ran 4.24 at the Combine in 1999 Rondel Menedez WR (Eastern Kentucky)?  He ran 10.99 /100 – 21.94 / 200 – 48.86 / 400 in high school, he never played a down in the NFL, but was a 7th Round pick by the Atlanta Falcons.  Hey nothing wrong with taking a 7th Round “risk” on a guy that runs 4.24…maybe he would have stuck in the NFL if he played corner or returned kicks? 

We’ll continue next by looking at the vertical jump…

Now the Defense – Rounds 1-2

Thursday, June 18th, 2009

Posted by Mark Branstad – Football Talent Advisors

Here are several of the defensive lineman and linebackers taken in Rounds 1-2 during this year’s NFL Draft with high school backgrounds in track and field, particularly the shot put, discus and 100 meters. 

Pick # 4- Aaron Curry LB (Seahawks / Wake Forest) – Long Jump, High Jump, Triple Jump / E.E. Smith HS /NC

Pick # 11- Aaron Maybin DE  (Bills / Penn St) – 46’06 Shot Put , Discus, 100 meters / Mt. Hebron HS / MD

Pick # 18 – Robert Ayers LB (Broncos / Tennessee) – 100 meters, 4×100 relay / Marlboro County HS / SC

Pick #  32- Ziggy Hood DT (Steelers / Missouri) – 50’07 Shot Put , 165’07 Discus / Palo Duro HS / TX

Pick # 40 – Ron Brace DT (Patriots / Boston College) – 54’10 Shot Put / Burncoat HS / MA

Pick # 43 – Everette Brown DE (Panthers / FSU) – 100 meters, 200 meters, High Jump / South Stokes HS / NC

Pick # 53 – David Veikune DE (Browns / Hawaii) – Shot Put, Discus / Campbell HS/ HI

Throwing Lineman Abundant in NFL Draft Rounds 1-2

Monday, June 15th, 2009

Posted by Mark Branstad – Football Talent Advisors

This is a follow-up to the blog Track Throwers = College Football’s Big-Time Tackles which was spotlighted by HeismanPundit.com and Bruce Feldman @ ESPN.com.  There’s no question that most of the top collegiate senior offensive and defensive tackles returning this season have multi-sport high school backgrounds, including throwing the shot and discus. 

But what about the best collegiate tackles from last year, many of whom were drafted in April by the NFL?  I decided to take a closer look…specifically at the first two rounds.  Not surprisingly four of the first five offensive tackles taken in April’s NFL Draft had throwing in their high school background. 

First 5 Offensive Tackles Drafted

Pick #2 Jason Smith (Rams / Baylor)  – Basketball, W.T. White HS / TX

Pick #6 Andre Smith (Bengals / Alabama) – Shot Put 48’07 & Discus, Huffman HS/AL

Pick #8 Eugene Monroe (Jaguars / Virginia) – Shot Put 50’01,  Plainfield HS / NJ  

Pick #23 Michael Oher (Ravens / Ole Miss) – Shot Put 47’03 & Discus 158’09, Briarcrest HS / TN  

Pick # 39 Eben Britton (Jaguars / Arizona) – Shot Put 56’01 & Discus 158’08, John Burroughs HS / CA

A few others

Pick # 20 Brandon Pettigrew Tight End (Lions / Oklahoma State) – Shot Put 48’11 & Discus 167’08, Tyler Lee HS / TX…he was also a standout basketball player. 

Pick # 21 Alex Mack Center (Browns / Cal) – Wasn’t a track athlete, but was a state champion heavyweight wrestler, San Marcos HS / CA

Pick # 51 Andy Levitre Guard (Bills / Oregon St) – Shot Put 46’05 & Discus, San Lorenzo Valley HS / CA

Pick # 54 Phil Loadholt Guard (Vikings / Oklahoma) – Shot Put 53’10 & 158’02 Discus, Fountain HS / CO

* Worth noting that the shortest player listed above was 6’03 and the tallest was Loadholt at 6’08.  There’s certainly a correlation to height and NFL offensive lineman.   

Here’s an even closer look at the multi-sport background of every player taken in the 2009 NFL Draft. 

We’ll look at Round 1 & 2 defensive players next.

Track Throwers = College Football Big-Time Tackles Part 2

Tuesday, June 9th, 2009

Posted by Mark Branstad – Football Talent Advisors

A few months ago I blogged about several of college football’s best lineman and their high school backgrounds throwing the shot put and discus.  Well, today I read an article (referenced by Bruce Feldman / ESPN.com) mentioning Texas high schools as a hot-bed for offensive tackles and saw a list on www.mockingthedraft.com of the top 10 senior and top 5 junior defensive tackles in college football. 

Bruce Feldman believed at least one player was left off the list: “Can’t say I disagree with that pick at this point, although I would have had Georgia’s Jeff Owens above a bunch of these guys in the top 10 DTs”, claimed Feldman. 

Regardless of whether or not I agreed with the list of names or NFL projections from the site or players mentioned in the article, I was struck by the number of players that threw the shot and discus in high school…and did it well!  Of the 15 tackles listed on www.mockingthedraft.com 12 threw the shot put and or discus in high school, as well as all four offensive tackles named in the article by Mike Detillier.  What about the three d-tackles that did not throw?  Well, one was a state champion heavyweight wrestler in New York, the other two were individual standouts in baseball and basketball.   

As always here’s the breakdown:  (All listed heights and weights according to various recruiting site sources)

Four Senior Offensive Tackles:  And yeah these guys were huge in high school…

Russell Okung / Oklahoma State – (6’05 250) Fort Bend George Bush HS – 155’09 discus

Trent Williams / Oklahoma – (6’05 290) Longview HS – 45’06 shot put

Ciron Black / Louisiana State – (6’05 315) Robert E. Lee HS – 54’05 shot put

Adam Ulatoski / Texas – (6’06 270) Southlake Carroll HS – 45’09 shot put

Ten Senior Defensive Tackles

Ndamukong Suh / Nebraska – (6’04 278) Grant HS, OR. – 61’09 shot put state champion

Terrence Cody / Alabama – (6’05 365) Riverdale HS, FL. – 151’07 discus and 47’00 shot put

DeMarcus Granger / Oklahoma – (6’03 315) Kimball HS, TX. – 173’10 discus state runner-up and 55’04 shot put 

Arthur Jones / Syracuse – (6’03 280) Union-Endicott HS, NY. – 275lb. wrestling state champion

Vince Oghobaase / Duke – (6’06 295) Alief Hastings HS, TX. – 154’00 discus

Geno Atkins / Georgia – (6’01 270) St. Thomas Aquinas HS, FL. – 59’01 shot put state runner-up and 158’07 discus

D’Anthony Smith / Louisiana Tech – (6’03 311) Pickering HS, LA. – 52’03 shot put 2X state champion

Dan Williams / Tennessee – (6’01 310) Memphis East HS, TN. – 53’00 shot put 3rd place state meet

Jared Odrick / Penn State – (6’05 303) Lebanon HS, PA. – 56’10 shot put 4th place state meet

Ekom Udofia / Stanford – (6’01 288) Chapparral HS, AZ. – 50’03 shot put 6th place state meet

Five Junior Defensive Tackles:

Gerald McCoy / Oklahoma – (6’04 305) Southeast HS, OK. – 55’04 shot put state runner-up

Marvin Austin / North Carolina – (6’03 291) Ballou & Coolidge HS, District of Columbia – 41’10 shot put , 7.00 55 meter dash (faster than many high school skill position players), 12.50 100 meter dash impressive for d-lineman

Brian Price / UCLA – (6’02 285) Crenshaw HS, CA. – Standout baseball player

Lawrence Marsh / Florida – (6’05 260) Josey HS, GA. – Standout basketball player, read somewhere he threw shot and discus but no evidence…

Jarvis Jenkins / Clemson – (6’05 308) Daniel HS, SC. – 46’06 shot put

Honorable Mention Senior Tackles:  (The first one is for Bruce Feldman, the second…well I saw him throw as a high schooler)

Jeff Owens / Georgia – (6’02 263) Plantation HS, FL. – 52’10 shot put 3rd place state meet and 145’06 discus

Sam Young / Notre Dame – (6’08 302) St. Thomas Aquinas HS, FL. – 59’01 shot put state champion and 164’06 discus

Indiana High School Track and Field State Meet

Saturday, June 6th, 2009

Posted by Mark Branstad – Football Talent Advisors

Friday, June 6th:  Indiana High School State Track & Field Meet – IU Bloomington, Indiana

Great day for a track meet!  Many awesome performances.  Below I’ll plug the performances from this year’s D1 football signees and a few 2010-2012 football prospects.  There were not as many football signees that participated in the 100 & 200 as past year’s.  But certainly there’s no lack of quality performances in other events.  In particular, Duwyce Wilson  (Indiana football signee) won the long jump and Roderick Smith (2010 RB prospect F.W. Harding) ran a leg on the state runner-up 4×100 relay (41.52).  Sophomore Kris Harley (2011 DT prospect Warren Central) threw the shot put 57’05 for 3rd place!

State Track Meet 2009:

Names (no particular order)

Class of 2009:

Duwyce Wilson (CE – WR) – 22’10 long jump state champion ; 4×100 (42.21) 6th place

Tanner Riley (CG – WR/RB) – 15’00 pole vault 10th place

Joe Rippe (Carmel – DB) – 21’08 long jump 9th place

Earnie Morris (BS – WR) – 21’05 long jump 13th, 11.05 100 18th, 22.18 200 9th dnf finals, 4×100 (44.05) 25th place [E. Illinois signee]

Devon Davis (CE – DE/LB) – 4×100 (42.21) 6th place

Eric Williams (WC – RB) – 4×100 (42.02) 4th place

Luke Swift (CG – WR) – 14.28/110 high hurdles 3rd place ; 38.45/300 intermediate hurdles 5th place

Nick Turner (Spt. – RB) – 4×100 (43.16) 13th place

Cory Phillips (Hammond Morton – QB) – 4×100 (43.44) 17th place [Indiana State signee]

Jordan Stepp (BD – DT) – 169’05 discus 4th place ; Scratch shot put

Matt Krempel (CN – OT) – 56’03 shot put 7th place

*Robbie Piper (PC – OL) – 48’08 shot put 23rd place [Kentucky Wesleyan College Division 2 signee]

*Ryan Pervine (LC – RB) – 173’11 discus 2nd place [attending a JUCO to play football]

*Nick Driskill (Southwood – DB/RB) – 50’09 shot put 19th place [Mt. Union Div.3]

Class of 2010:

Bryce Kiser (Pioneer – RB) – 51’07 shot put 17th place

Erik Willis (Richmond – DB) – 4×100 (42.37) 8th place

Anthony Miller (CE – DB) – 4×100 (42.21) 6th place

Roderick Smith (FW Harding – RB) – 4×100 (41.52) 2nd place 

Toba Omotinugbon (Jeffersonville – LB) – 145’05 discus 18th place

Class of 2011:

Kris Harley (WC – DT) – 57’05 shot put 3rd place

Anthony Bradley (North Central – QB) – 55’06 shot put 8th place

Jeffery Harmon (Pike – WR) – 4×100 (42.17) 5th place

Eric Robinson (WC – DB) – 10.87 100 10th place ; 4×100 (42.02) 4th place

Jordan Gater (East Noble – QB / DB) – 10.82 100 prelims, 10.91 9th place ; 21.95 200 prelims , 22.46 6th place

Class of 2012:

Jake Moran (Franklin Co. – RB) – 21’10 long jump 8th place

Langston Newton (Carmel – OL /TE) – 132’03 discus 24th place

College Football’s Fastest Players 2009 Edition

Monday, June 1st, 2009

Posted by Mark Branstad – Football Talent Advisors

There’s always plenty of speed to be found in college football and this year is no exception.  Heisman Pundit has put out his annual list of the college game’s fastest players and does a great job explaining how and why using track data is important to ranking his list.  2009’s fastest collegiate players…

Notice a few guys on the Pundit list are incoming freshman…speed is certainly on the way.  There’s also a couple players I think that could be added to the list given the criteria.  Here goes:

Julio Jones – (WR Bama) 24’02 long jump and 47’05 triple jump state champ

DeVier Posey – (WR Ohio State) 47.41 / 400 meter dash state champ ; throw in 21.86 / 200 and 10.87 / 100

Lamaar Thomas – (WR Ohio State) 6.45 / 55 meter dash indoor state champ ; 10.63 / 100 state champ

Darryl Stonum – (WR Michigan) 1:26.84 / 4×200 relay

D.J. Monroe – (CB Texas) 10.41 / 100 meter dash state champ ; 40.93 / 4×100 relay state champ

Aaron Hester – (CB UCLA) 3:09.59 / 4×400 relay state champ

Cyrus Gray – (RB Texas A&M) 10.76 / 100 meter dash

Derrick Hall – (RB Texas A&M) 24’01 / long jump ; 6’09 / high jump ; 10.51/100 meter dash ; 41.29 / 4×100 relay