Ohio State University's Chris "Beanie" Wells ran a 4.59 in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine over the weekend, which is incredibly fast for a man of his size...everywhere except the freak-fest in Indy, apparently.
The dash had tongues wagging all over the place, and I have little doubt Wells will drop in the draft from his supposed top 10 perch—although it's not clear who put him in that place to begin with.
The NFL and people who make money off it will see the entire incident as further confirmation of the importance of the meat market known as the Combine.
That assessment, though, has a giant hole. Wells was already a suspicious player due to the fact he never played a full season in three years at OSU. He was injury-prone, so much so that members of Buckeye Nation often questioned his toughness.
Scouts and other NFL types were undoubtedly doing the same. If a big, bruising back can't make it through a 12-game college season unscathed, what's he going to do when faced with a 16-game slate against much faster, stronger, meaner defenders?
This question and others were being asked of Wells long before that 4.59. So when "Beanie" falls to pick No. 15, 17, or 20 in the NFL Draft, don't let ESPN's Mel Kiper, Jr. distract you with talk about that Combine run.
Wells was on his way down because of other more important evidence. The game tapes that showed him limping to the sideline after a tough hit, or not playing at all, such as in the Buckeyes' biggest game of the year at USC, play a huge role.
Wells was often an exceptional back in college, and ironically was known to bust off a long run every now and then. In the 2008 BCS title game he ran for a 65-yard touchdown run against one of those "fast" defenses from the SEC.
I didn't see any LSU Tigers catching him. He could be excellent in the NFL, too, even with that 4.59 in his past. The larger question is if he'll be heading back to the huddle or the sideline when guys like James Harrison and Ed Reed come calling.
My gut feeling is that, in the end, NFL execs will mostly ignore his showing in Indy. They'll be more worried about his durability, and he'll probably drop a few spots because of it. But with his combination of size and, yes, speed, I can't see him going outside the top 10.
So, no, Mel, you still serve no real purpose.