The 40-yard dash is the landmark measuring stick for the NFL Combine. Top draft picks watch their stocks rise and fall on the simple run that has defined so many performances at the NFL Combine.
Over 100 players went on the clock in the 40-yard dash, with some beating expectations while others fell far behind their expected times.
Here are the 10 most surprising times—both good and bad—from the 2010 NFL Combine.
Prior to the Combine, former Florida cornerback Joe Haden was projected as a top 10 pick and possibly knocking on the door as a top five pick.
His status took a significant hit when he ran a 4.58 40-yard time.
During his final season in Florida, Haden was heralded for his top-end speed and speed in the coverage game. Running a 4.58 threw a wet blanket on that belief.
Teams invest somewhere around $20 million in guaranteed money for top 10 picks. It is hard to believe any team will invest that kind of dough for a cornerback who, at 4.58, will have a lot of trouble keeping up with the NFL's top receivers.
Taylor Mays, in my opinion, is one of the most overrated players in the first round of the draft.
Mays struggles in pass protection, does not have much of a nose for the ball, and was often caught out of position in the box. He too often goes for the home run hit instead of defending the ball.
Such a style will run him into serious trouble at the next level with proper technique education.
That being said, Mays—who has always been known as a tremendous athlete—shocked a lot of people with a reported 4.24 40-yard time. That number has come back down to Earth a bit with a later report of a 4.43 40-yard time.
Nonetheless, if the number is somewhere on the lower end of that range, Mays will have secured himself a spot in the middle of the first round.
Tim Tebow impressed many at the Combine with his 4.72 40-yard dash, which ranked fourth among the 16 quarterbacks who are in attendance.
There are still plenty of questions regarding Tebow's future under center in the NFL, but his 40 time provided a security blanket for teams who may consider using him in a Wildcat formation or as an H-back one day.
Tebow's quarterbacking skills are doubted, but his 40 time reinforced his security on an NFL roster.
Ohio State defensive end Thaddeus Gibson ran a 4.71 40 at the Combine, which should help solidify his standing as a late second round pick.
But the 40 time, in addition to his raw strength, size, and high ceiling despite limited college experience, could be enough to entice teams to grab him earlier.
One problem that faces Gibson is the Vernon Gholston Syndrome. Gholston was another Buckeye defensive end who lit up the Combine with his workout but has since fizzled in the NFL as a top five pick.
Nonetheless, the 40 time was a good start for Gibson, who left school a year early.
Former USC Trojan Everson Griffen is raw on talent, but he impressed many scouts at the Combine by running one of the best times of any defensive end. His 4.66 40 time showed good burst and sustained speed.
As mentioned, Griffen is somewhat raw and needs to be coached up, but speed is one thing that cannot be coached.
Joe McKnight was the Swiss Army Knife of the USC offense, burning opposing defenses with his speed out of the backfield, on the edge, or on special teams.
However, McKnight had a tough time selling scouts on his multi-dimensional use with a 4.47 time in the 40-yard dash.
Scouts claimed McKnight showed a lack of explosiveness and likely relegated himself to a mid-round pick.
It's safe to say not too many people saw it coming from Jacoby Ford when asked who would clock the fastest 40 time so far at the NFL Combine.
At 5'9", 186 pounds, Ford likely does not have much of a future as a receiver at the next level, but that speed and receiver hands could get him a look as a defensive back in late rounds.
Dickerson impressed scouts with his 4.40 40 time, a number that surpassed most of the receivers at the top of that unit's 40 time board.
At 6'4", 226 pounds, Dickerson may not fit the mold of a true NFL tight end, but his speed certainly gives teams the option to use him multiple ways, and that could be enough of an attraction to bump him up the draft board.
Davis turned in the best 40 time of any defensive end at 4.64 seconds. However, at 6'1", 244 pounds, Davis is too undersized to man the end position at the NFL level. In fact, he is fairly undersized even for an NFL linebacker.
Putting up the best number is a nice first step, but Davis will continue to fight an uphill battle to convince NFL scouts he possesses a concrete role in the NFL.
Jarrett Brown's 4.54 performance in the 40-yard dash was like the cherry on top of an impressive Combine performance.
Brown wrapped up a Combine showing that saw him beat other quarterbacks in the 40, Broad Jump, Vertical Jump, and 60-Yard Shuttle.
At 6'3", 224 pounds and the second biggest hands of any Combine quarterback, Brown elevated his stock in the eyes of many NFL scouts.