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…