NFL Combine 2014 Results: Tracking Every 40-Yard Dash Time
There is more to the game of football than just speed, but those who run faster than everyone else certainly have an advantage. With that in mind, the 40-yard dash is the marquee workout at the NFL Scouting Combine on a yearly basis.
Many players have improved their draft stock significantly with blazing-fast dashes over the years, while just as many have seen their value plummet with poor times.
With on-field workouts beginning on Feb. 22, the bulk of the talk surrounding the combine will undoubtedly focus on 40 times in the coming days.
There are even some interesting 40-yard dash subplots worth tracking, including Adidas' promise that the fastest runner wearing Adidas products will win a cool $100,000, according to Tim Newcomb of SI.com.
The 40-yard dash is so important that many of the prospects go through special training regimens to shave time off their runs. Strength and conditioning coach Ryan Flaherty is an expert in that area, and while he admits that the 40 isn't the be-all, end-all, he fully understands what a good 40 time means to these prospects, per Anahad O'Connor of The New York Times.
"Every team is going to be there to watch these guys work out and to see how fast they can run and how high they can jump," Flaherty said. "It's kind of a dog-and-pony show. But you have to do it."
With that in mind, here is a full listing of every prospect taking part in the combine. As their 40 times become available, this slideshow will be updated to reflect how the prospective draftees fared.
All prospects and 40 times courtesy of NFL.com.
The safety position is one of the most vital to an NFL defense. Whether it’s playing a role in coverage or jumping up to stop the run, these defenders have to be fast and strong.
Here is how the best safeties in the nation handled the combine’s 40-yard dash:
|Player||School||Best 40 (secs)|
|Terrence Brooks||Florida State||4.42|
|Deone Bucannon||Washington State||4.49|
|Johnathan Dowling||Western Kentucky||4.52|
|Mo Alexander||Utah State||4.54|
|Ha Ha Clinton-Dix||Alabama||4.58|
|Tre Boston||North Carolina||4.59|
|Isaiah Lewis||Michigan State||4.60|
|Nat Berhe||San Diego State||4.71|
The defensive backs are always one of the main focuses of franchise across the league due to the high volume of passing plays in the NFL.
With stars like Oklahoma State’s Justin Gilbert and TCU’s Jason Verrett getting their first chance to show what skills they possess, here is how all the DBs 40-yard dash times shook out:
|Player||School||Best 40 (secs)|
|Justin Gilbert||Oklahoma State||4.37|
|Bradley Roby||Ohio State||4.39|
|Brandon Dixon||Northwest Missouri St.||4.41|
|Dontae Johnson||N.C. State||4.45|
|Jabari Prince||North Carolina||4.45|
|Nevin Lawson||Utah State||4.48|
|Kyle Fuller||Virgina Tech||4.49|
|Darqueze Dennard||Michigan State||4.51|
|Bennett Jackson||Notre Dame||4.51|
|Rashaad Reynolds||Oregon State||4.51|
|Lamarcus Joyner||Florida State||4.55|
|Jemea Thomas||Georgia tech||4.55|
|Antone Exum||Virginia Tech||4.59|
|Bene Benwikere||San Jose State||4.63|
|Lavelle Westbrooks||Georgia Southern||4.63|
|Victor Hampton||South Carolina||4.69|
In a pass happy league like the NFL, the serious need for elite outside linebackers has a premium on players at that position.
Add in the necessity for reliable run stoppers that can clog the middle and drop into coverage when needed, and there is a major focus from scouts on this position group.
This is how Buffalo’s Khalil Mack, UCLA’s Anthony Barr and the rest of the linebackers performed:
|Player||School||Best Time (secs)|
|Kevin Pierre-Louis||Boston College||4.51|
|Telvin Smith||Florida State||4.52|
|Prince Shembo||Notre Dame||4.71|
|Kyle Van Noy||BYU||4.71|
|Christian Jones||Florida State||4.74|
|Carl Bradford||Arizona State||4.76|
|Max Bullough||Michigan State||4.78|
|Jeremiah George||Iowa State||4.91|
|Tyler Starr||South Dakota||4.95|
NFL football is won and lost in the trenches, and there is a serious focus from scouts across the league on the 40-yard dash times from the defensive linemen.
While there are several big names who hit the field on Monday, few have the fanfare surrounding them that South Carolina Gamecocks defensive end Jadeveon Clowney has with his lofty expectations.
Here is how Clowney and the other D-Linemen performed:
|Player||School||Best 40 (secs)|
|Jadeveon Clowney||South Carolina||4.47|
|James Gayle||Virginia Tech||4.60|
|Kareem Martin||North Carolina||4.68|
|Kasim Edebali||Boston College||4.69|
|Jonathan Newsome||Ball State||4.69|
|Will Clarke||West Virginia||4.72|
|Demarcus Lawrence||Boise State||4.72|
|Scott Crichton||Oregon State||4.78|
|Zach Moore||Concordia (MN||4.82|
|Ethan Westbrooks||West Texas A&M||4.85|
|IK Enemkpali||Louisiana Tech||4.90|
|Timmy Jernigan||Florida State||4.93|
|Khyri Thornton||Southern Miss||4.94|
|Tevin Mims||South Florida||4.95|
|Kerry Hyder||Texas Tech||4.97|
|Kelcy Quarles||South Carolina||5.00|
|Justin Ellis||Louisiana Tech||5.12|
|Mike Pennel||Colorado State-Pueblo||5.19|
|DaQuan Jones||Penn State||5.28|
|Louis Nix||Notre Dame||5.35|
|Will Sutton||Arizona State||5.35|
|Ryan Carrethers||Arkansas State||5.44|
It's fair to say that speed isn't necessarily a prerequisite when it comes to being a great NFL offensive lineman. Most of them tip the scales at 300 pounds or more, so anything around the five-second mark in the 40-yard dash is considered important.
Being able to pull and make blocks outside the hash marks is a great asset, though, which means that talent evaluators will definitely keep an eye on how the offensive linemen run.
|Matt Armstrong||Grand Valley St.||5.36|
|Russell Bodine||North Carolina||5.18|
|Kadeem Edwards||Tennessee St.||5.25|
|James Hurst||North Carolina|
|Gabe Jackson||Mississippi St.||5.51|
|Tyler Larsen||Utah St.|
|Charles Leno, Jr.||Boise St.|
|Corey Linsley||Ohio St.|
|Luke Lucas||Kansas St.|
|Zack Martin||Notre Dame|
|Jake Matthews||Texas A&M||5.07|
|Jack Mewhort||Ohio St.||5.37|
|Matthew Paradis||Boise St.||5.34|
|Matt Patchan||Boston College||4.97|
|Weston Richburg||Colorado St.||5.10|
|Bryan Stork||Florida St.|
|Billy Turner||North Dakota St.||5.16|
|John Urschel||Penn St.||5.31|
|Chris Watt||Notre Dame||5.50|
One of the biggest changes in the NFL over the past couple decades has been the involvement of tight ends offensively. Being a good blocker used to be enough, but tight ends are now integral pass-catchers who are expected to run as well as many wide receivers.
Vernon Davis of the San Francisco 49ers is the perfect example of a modern-day tight end, and he is viewed as the gold standard in terms of speed after his performance at the 2006 combine:
Having an athletic, field-stretching tight end can add another dimension to an offense, so the tight ends running at the combine have a golden opportunity to shake up the draft.
North Carolina's Eric Ebron did that by running a 4.60, although his day was cut short after pulling his hamstring in his second attempt, per Bleacher Report's Dan Hope via NFL.com:
Eric Ebron told http://t.co/GHvdFP18dp that he pulled his hamstring running his FIRST 40 (still ran a 4.50 unofficial on his second).— Dan Hope (@Dan_Hope) February 22, 2014
Even so, it was a great performance that likely improved Ebron's stock considerably.
|Jace Amaro||Texas Tech||4.74|
|Joe Don Duncan||Dixie St.||4.77|
|Eric Ebron||North Carolina||4.60|
|Crockett Gillmore||Colorado St.||4.89|
|Nic Jacobs||McNeese St.|
|Marcel Jensen||Fresno St.||4.85|
|Reggie Jordan||Missouri Western||4.77|
|A.C. Leonard||Tennessee St.||4.50|
|Troy Niklas||Notre Dame|
|D.J. Tialavea||Utah St.|
Kickers, punters and long snappers aren't asked to run 40 yards down the field too often, but it does happen on occasion. Kickers and punters are the last line of defense on returns, so they do need at least a little bit of athleticism.
Also, some NFL long snappers are fantastic in kick coverage, so running a solid 40 could get the attention of scouts. Most of the focus will be simply on kicking and snapping, but running well obviously can't hurt.
|Chris Boswell (K)||Rice|
|Steven Clark (P)||Auburn|
|Anthony Fera (K)||Texas|
|Zach Hocker (K)||Arkansas|
|Tom Hornsey (P)||Memphis|
|Richie Leone (P)||Houston|
|Cody Mandell (P)||Alabama||4.89|
|Pat O'Donnell (P)||Miami||4.64|
|Cairo Santos (K)||Tulane|
The days of stationary, pocket passers seem to be quickly coming to an end in the NFL. There will always be room for guys like Peyton Manning and Tom Brady, but the quarterback position is obviously evolving. The Cam Newtons, Colin Kaepernicks, Russell Wilsons and Robert Griffins of the world are taking over, and many similar quarterbacks are poised to enter the NFL in 2014.
Dual-threat quarterbacks such as Johnny Manziel, Blake Bortles and Teddy Bridgewater are expected to be taken among the top 10 selections in the NFL draft, and their respective 40 times could be a deciding factor since they are so close in other areas.
|Blake Bortles||Central Florida||4.93|
|David Fales||San Jose State||4.99|
|Derek Carr||Fresno State||4.69|
|Jimmy Garoppolo||Eastern Illinois||4.97|
|Jordan Lynch||Northern Illinois||4.76|
|Johnny Manziel||Texas A&M||4.68|
|Bryn Renner||North Carolina||4.87|
|Connor Shaw||South Carolina||4.66|
|Logan Thomas||Virginia Tech||4.61|
|Dustin Vaughan||West Texas A&M||4.95|
|Keith Wenning||Ball State||5.0|
Although the emphasis on running backs in the NFL draft has waned in recent years, great running backs are still of the utmost importance in the NFL. No backs were taken in the first round last year, and it is entirely possible that the same will be true this year; however, those taken in the second and third round will be viewed as key players.
Kent State running back Dri Archer is hoping to improve his stock, and he intends to make some noise in the 40, according to Andy Fenelon of NFL.com.
"I'm going to break the record," Archer said.
NFL running backs have such a short shelf life that teams are looking for explosive, dynamic players whom they can ride from day one, and running well in the 40-yard dash could potentially lead to a starting job immediately.
|Antonio Andrews||Western Kentucky||4.82|
|Dri Archer||Kent State||4.26|
|George Atkinson||Notre Dame||4.48|
|Kapri Bibbs||Colorado State||4.67|
|Isaiah Crowell||Alabama State||4.57|
|Timothy Flanders||Sam Houston State||4.75|
|Devonta Freeman||Florida State||4.58|
|Carlos Hyde||Ohio State||4.66|
|Storm Johnson||Central Florida||4.66|
|Jerick McKinnon||Georgia Southern||4.41|
|LaDarius Perkins||Mississippi State||4.46|
|Charles Sims||West Virginia||4.48|
|Lorenzo Taliaferro||Coastal Carolina||4.58|
|James Wilder Jr.||Florida State||4.86|
|Andre Williams||Boston College||4.56|
Perhaps no position relates to the 40-yard dash better than wide receiver. Most players don't need straight-line speed 40 yards down the field, but wide receivers run routes that require it routinely. According to Frank Cooney of CBSSports.com, receivers have run the three fastest 40s since 2000, and they occupy five of the top seven spots.
Buffalo Bills wide receiver Marquise Goodwin tied the record at 4.21 seconds last year, and he seems interested to see if anyone can top him:
That is no easy task, but with so many top athletes preparing for this moment, a number of receivers are likely to come close.
|Davante Adams||Fresno State||4.56|
|Odell Beckham Jr.||LSU||4.43|
|Kelvin Benjamin||Florida State||4.61|
|Corey Brown||Ohio State||4.51|
|John Brown||Pittsburg St. (KS)||4.34|
|Isaiah Burse||Fresno State||4.58|
|Mike Campanaro||Wake Forest||4.46|
|Brandin Cooks||Oregon State||4.33|
|Bruce Ellington||South Carolina||4.45|
|Mike Evans||Texas A&M||4.53|
|Bennie Fowler||Michigan State||4.52|
|Austin Franklin||New Mexico State||4.56|
|Matt Hazel||Coastal Carolina||4.5|
|Jeff Janis||Saginaw Valley St.||4.42|
|T.J. Jones||Notre Dame||4.48|
|Walt Powell||Murray State||4.63|
|Allen Robinson||Penn State||4.6|
|Willie Snead||Ball State||4.62|
|Josh Stewart||Oklahoma State||4.69|
|Albert Wilson||Georgia State||4.43|
When it comes to defensive linemen, 40 times run the gamut from hugely important to almost insignificant. Smaller, speed pass-rushers need to run well in order to ease concerns regarding their strength disadvantage. Big defensive tackles, on the other hand, don't need to be as fast as they are quick.
Even so, the 40-yard dash times are a nice barometer of athleticism and explosiveness. Teams will usually go with the faster player if everything else is equal, so defensive linemen can't afford to phone it in.
As the athleticism and speed of tight ends have increased, the same can be said for linebackers. Having great instincts used to be enough for a linebacker to be great at the NFL level, but they are asked to do so much currently that some measure of speed is an absolute must.
Whether it's getting outside to stop a toss play, rushing the quarterback or dropping back into pass coverage, linebackers have tons of responsibilities that require speed. Don't be surprised if some linebackers manage to run as fast or faster than tight ends or even wide receivers at the combine.
As wide receivers get faster, so do cornerbacks. Corners need to be able to backpedal quickly, which is something that isn't really measured at the combine, but they do need straight-line speed as well in order to cover deep patterns down the field.
Also, corners are becoming increasingly important in terms of stopping the run, and speed factors in significantly. Many of the best corners in NFL history have been able to attack the ball and make things happen after forcing turnovers, and speed has plenty to do with it.
Like linebackers, safeties are asked to do any number of things on the field. That involves playing close to the line, helping out in coverage over the top and even covering tight ends, running backs and wide receivers man-on-man. Being a big hitter is nice, but it can be argued that speed is even more important for NFL safeties these days.
There aren't many highly touted safeties in the 2014 class, but perhaps a few can change that by tearing it up in the 40.