This is going to be one of those rare big sports Sundays that falls in the "limbo" period following football and preceding the Final Four and Major League Baseball. The networks are giving us some solid college hoops, Kobe vs. Melo in NBA action, and the crown jewel for Olympic/NHL hockey fans, a rematch in the gold medal game between Team USA and Team Canada. While I'm sure many of you will be tuned in to these events, I just want to remind everyone about what's also going on at the 2010 NFL Combine in Indianapolis this Sunday.
It's going to be glamor day at the combine. QB/RB/WR will all be running their 40-yard dashes for us to see. In the grand scheme of things, 40 times can be largely inconsequential. Positions like K, P, OL, DT, and QB, in many cases, don't really have much riding on how fast or how slow they can cover 40 yards. Other positions like RB, WR, DE, LB, and DB can be affected greatly 40 times. Every year we see examples of players whose draft stocks both benefit and suffer due to how fast they ran the infamous 40.
In 2009, Ole Miss wideout Mike Wallace ran his way up every team's draft board and, ultimately, into a Pittsburgh Steelers uniform. By running an average time of 4.33 at the combine, Wallace moved himself from a possible seventh round selection all the way up to pick no. 84 overall, smack dab in the middle of the third round.
An 2009 example of how a poor 40-yard dash can damage your chances at being a top draft pick in the NFL was South Carolina S Emanuel Cook. Despite being a two-time All SEC performer with the Gamecocks, Cook's times in the 4.6 second range caused him to go completely undrafted. This from a guy who had produced on the field his entire college career and had been compared to one of the NFL's best safeties, Bob Sanders.
So, like it or not, this Sunday's 40-yard dash is going to mean a lot to the so-called "specialty" players trying to make a name for themselves or merely trying to maintain the names they've already made for themselves. As T.O. would say, "Get your popcorn ready!" Or at least set your DVR because it's going to be worth a watch.