Does the Auburn Football Team Have a Potentially Overlooked Advantage?

Kevin McGradySenior Writer IJune 28, 2010

AUBURN, AL - SEPTEMBER 19:  Terrell Zachery #81 of the Auburn Tigers against the West Virginia Mountaineers at Jordan-Hare Stadium on September 19, 2009 in Auburn, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

For fans out there that keep up with the NFL, it is no revelation that elite speed is coveted. In an era when teams are regressing back to oversized or jumbo defensive sets once again, speed and quickness is the equalizing factor. The same is true in college football.

In the NFL as well as college football, the elite speed threshold has been regarded at 4.5 seconds in the 40 yard sprint for some time. When a player is said to run a 4.5 40, that means they run somewhere between 4.50 and 4.59 seconds for this drill.

There are precious few players with elite speed that puts them under that 4.5 second mark. The bottom threshold has traditionally been 4.2 seconds for the 40. Sub 4.2 times have been extremely rare in the era of electronic timing; no NFL prospect cracked this threshold in 2010.

The fastest 40 yard sprint times for the 2010 NFL combines were as follows.


Jarrett Brown out of West Virginia put up a 4.54 40 yard time.

Running Back

Javid Best out of California put up a 4.35 40 yard time.


Jacoby Ford out of Clemson put up a 4.28 40 yard time.

Tight End

Dorin Dickerson out of Pittsburgh put up a 4.40 40 yard time.


Jamar Cheney out of Mississippi State ran a 4.54 40 yard time.


Taylor Mays out of Southern California ran a 4.43 40 yard time.

Corner Back

Ghee Brandon out of Wake Forrest ran a 4.45 40 yard time.


For Auburn fans, let us compare speeds.

Auburn Quarterback

Cameron Newton runs a true 4.5 40. His time would have put him first at the NFL combines in 2010.

Auburn Running Back

Onterio McCalebb runs a sub 4.4 40.

Michael Dyer runs a sub 4.4 40.

Both would rank in the top two compared to 2010 NFL combine speeds.


Philip Pierre-Louis has a sub 4.3 40 time on record.

Antonio Goodwin has sub 4.4 40 times on record.

Terrell Zachery has several sub 4.5 40 times on record.

Trovon Reed also has sub 4.5 40 times.

DeAngelo Benton has sub 4.5 40 times as well.

Sub 4.5 40 times would rank in the top 10 at the 2010 NFL combines.

Tight End

Robert Cooper runs a 4.5 40.

There was only one tight end with a sub 4.5 40 at the 2010 NFL combines.


Demond Washington runs a 4.3 40.

Neiko Thorpe runs a sub 4.5 40.

T’Sharvan Bell runs a sub 4.5 40.

Aairon Savage runs a sub 4.5 40.

A sub 4.5 40 would put a player in the top 10 in the 2010 NFL combines.


Neiko Thorpe runs a sub 4.5 40.

If any reader desires to verify any of these 40 times, they can be verified here.

Simply search the players name under sports. 

While no one is trying to claim that all of these players will be in the NFL combines in the future, it would seem that they certainly have better than average collegiate speed. Can Auburn find advantage in this ability so coveted by the NFL?