How Top NFL Scouting Combine Performers Have Panned out in the Pros
With the 2013 NFL Scouting Combine comes the hoopla and armchair evaluation. After all, how much can we tell from seeing someone run a sprint or lift some weights?
There have been plenty of fantastic performances in scouting combines of yesteryear. Some of these workout warriors were just a taste of what was to come, while others were tantalizing disappointments.
Here are 10 of the biggest combine performances in history, along with a look at how each of their respective careers panned out.
Jacoby Ford, 2010
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40-Yard Dash Time: 4.28 seconds
Just two years after Chris Johnson blew away the official record in the 40-yard dash, Jacoby Ford posted a blistering 4.28 time in the event.
It is pretty easy to deduce who drafted him after that.
Al Davis and the Raiders took a shot on the explosive receiver in the fourth round, only to see injuries derail his career to this point. He holds the Raiders' record for most kickoff returns for touchdowns, but that's about it.
Ford is still with the Raiders, but unless he gets healthy and stays that way, he may be on the outs in Oakland.
DeMarcus Van Dyke, 2011
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40-Yard Dash Time: 4.28 seconds
One year after Jacoby Ford blazed through the 40-yard dash in 4.28 seconds, cornerback DeMarcus Van Dyke did it in the same time.
The speedster out of Miami wasn't really on the pre-draft radar until that point. Then Al Davis came calling.
The former Hurricane was taken in the third round of the 2011 draft by the Raiders, no doubt with speed on their mind. He played sparingly as a rookie before being released just before the 2012 season began.
The Pittsburgh Steelers picked him up, but he has not made an impact for them thus far.
Justin Ernest, 1999
225-Pound Bench Press Reps: 51
That's how many times Justin Ernest put up the 225-pound bar at the 1999 combine, and the record still stands today. The big defensive lineman out of Eastern Kentucky was signed by the Saints as an undrafted free agent.
He washed out of the league rather quickly, however. Ernest is a poster boy for why we shouldn't take the combine results too seriously.
Matt Jones, 2004
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40-Yard Dash Time: 4.37 seconds
Vertical Leap: 39.5 inches
Matt Jones was moving from quarterback to wide receiver coming out of college, and a good combine helped his draft stock a bit.
The 6'6" would-be receiver ran the 40-yard dash in 4.37 seconds and posted a 39.5-inch vertical leap. The 40 in particular was incredible for a guy his size.
The Jaguars took him in the first round, and they probably wish they hadn't.
Jones caught a total of 166 passes for 2,153 yards in a four-year career that was marred by substance abuse that ultimately ended it. While Jacksonville got something for its first-round faith, Jones was a bust.
Brodrick Bunkley, 2006
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225-Pound Bench Press Reps: 44
Brodrick Bunkley came out of Florida State and wowed scouts at the 2006 combine. Specifically, he put up 44 reps on the 225-pound bench press, one of the highest totals in combine history.
The former Seminole has had a fine career as a defensive tackle with the Eagles, Broncos and Saints. He is in the middle of a five-year, $25 million deal playing in the middle for New Orleans.
Fabian Washington, 2005
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40-Yard Dash Time: 4.25 seconds
Nebraska's Fabian Washington was a blur at the 2005 combine, unofficially running the 40-yard dash in 4.25 seconds.
He was drafted by—you guessed it, even though there is a picture—the Oakland Raiders.
The former Cornhusker had a decent career with the Raiders and Ravens before injuries took their toll. Washington was recently in the league with New Orleans in 2011, where he missed the year on IR. He still hasn't technically retired from the NFL, but it seems like his career is over.
Vernon Davis, 2006
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40-Yard Dash Time: 4.38 seconds
225-Pound Bench Press Reps: 33
The best combine performance by a tight end goes to Vernon Davis, who put on a show in 2006.
The 6'3", 255-pound tight end ran the 40-yard dash in a scalding 4.38 seconds, the fastest time ever recorded at the position. He also put up 33 repetitions on the 225-pound bench press.
It is difficult to know how much one combine performance affects draft stock, but Davis was also taken the fourth-highest of any tight end in draft history.
His NFL journey had been tumultuous, but he settled down after a rough start to become a reliable threat for the 49ers over the past couple of seasons.
Chris Johnson, 2008
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40-Yard Dash Time: 4.24 seconds
The 2008 combine was set ablaze by Chris Johnson after his official time of 4.24 seconds in the 40-yard dash. The result is an official record despite some faster times from others in the past.
Johnson fell to the Titans at the 24th pick of the draft, a relative steal.
He earned the nickname "CJ2K" after amassing 2,000 rushing yards in his second season. He has struggled to get back to that level since then, but he has nonetheless been one of the league's most productive running backs since he was drafted.
Calvin Johnson, 2007
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40-Yard Dash Time: 4.35 seconds
Calvin Johnson is a rare physical specimen.
At 6'5" and 239 pounds at the time, it was difficult to believe he could run a 4.35 40-yard dash. But Johnson did just that at the 2007 combine, even though he had to borrow some shoes because he hadn't planned on running.
He was tantalizing enough for the Lions to spend another first-round pick on a wide receiver after having taken Charles Rogers and Roy Williams in the first round of previous drafts. They finally got one right.
Johnson is the best receiver in the league, and it isn't even close.
Bo Jackson, 1986
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40-Yard Dash Time: 4.12 seconds
Bo Jackson was a special talent. Just ask anyone who played Tecmo Bowl on the Nintendo back in the 8-bit era.
His unofficial record of 4.12 seconds in the 40-yard dash is god-like. Bo Knows Speed. His suitors did too.
Jackson wound up being a two-sport star, playing for the Kansas City Royals and Los Angeles Raiders, among other teams. A hip injury cut his brilliant career short, but Jackson is widely regarded to be one of the best athletes in the history of sports.