The vertical jump is a good test to see how explosive athletes are from a standing start, and it's especially helpful when evaluating receivers and defensive backs, who actually need to be able to jump high on game days.
Gerald Sensabaugh, formerly of the Dallas Cowboys and Jacksonville Jaguars, has the current record of 46 inches, set back in 2005. He recently retired from the game of football but was a productive player during his career.
Interestingly enough, in an event dominated by receivers and defensive backs, the second-best mark was posted by an outside linebacker. Cameron Wake out of Penn State leaped 45.5 inches back in 2005.
Once again, most eyes will be on wide receiver Sammy Watkins. Though he is widely considered to be among the most physically gifted athletes, many will want to see just how high Watkins can leap off the ground.
Cementing his draft status at the combine has become a focal point for Watkins, as he said to Kendall:
My draft goal has always been the same, be a top 10 player, go out there and dominate the combine and make sure those guys see my potential and go out there and ace the interviews...
...Coming here, I am thinking, "I might get faster, I might not." In two weeks, I can tell I am 10 times more flexible. I am working on muscles we didn’t work on (in college), different stretches, different workouts.
Receivers such as Calvin Johnson, A.J. Green and Andre Johnson and have set a high standard for No. 1 receivers as their quarterbacks routinely lean on them to complete and win jump balls against their defender. If Watkins wants to solidify himself as a clear-cut No. 1 receiver heading into the NFL, he'll need to impress in this drill to prove he has the flat-footed leaping ability to beat defenders.
Spoiler alert: He does.