2011 NFL Draft: 15 Most Impressive Combine Performances Ever
The 2011 NFL Scouting Combine is just over two weeks away, as this year's event takes place from Feb. 23-March 1 in Indianapolis.
It's a chance for college football's best players to prove to scouts, coaches and teams that they can play at the next level.
But for some, it's straight-up just an event to showoff.
Like paintings at a museum, some guys simply love to be the center of attention.
So who are the Mona Lisas of the NFL Combine?
Well, check out the 15 most impressive performances in the event's history.
15. Brodrick Bunkley, DT, Florida State (2006)
Listed at 6'2", 306 pounds coming out of Florida State, Brodrick Bunkley proved that a little extra "lovehandles" might not always be such a bad thing.
The defensive tackle ran a decent 5.01 40-yard dash time, but he really caught the eye of scouts when he recorded a 33" vertical jump.
Bunkley then topped off his Combine performance with 44 bench press reps at 225 pounds, the fourth most in NFL history.
So he's got agility and strength? That's exactly what you look for in a defensive tackle.
14. Gary Guyton, LB, Georgia Tech (2008)
In 2008, Georgia Tech's Gary Guyton was the stud of the linebacker class.
The 6'3", 245-pounder performed better than any other linebacker in three categories: the broad jump (10'6"), the vertical jump (36.5") and the 40-yard dash (4.47 seconds).
Guyton still wound up going undrafted, but hey, at least he's in the NFL now.
13. Santana Moss, WR, Miami (2001)
Santana Moss only performed in two drills at the 2001 NFL Combine, but that's all he needed.
The 5'10", 181-pounder out of Miami beasted the vertical jump with a leap of 42 inches.
He then ran the 40-yard dash in a "blink and you'll miss it" 4.31 seconds.
For some reason, I really wanna see Moss in a dunk competition with Nate Robinson.
12. Adam Archuleta, S, Arizona State (2001)
Before Adam Archuleta was selected with the 20th overall pick by the St. Louis Rams, he was destroying the NFL Combine.
The 6'0'', 210-pound safety threw up a nasty 31 bench reps of 225 pounds, ran a 4.42 40-yard dash and did his best Vince Carter impression by recording a vertical jump of 39 inches.
The Rams jumped all over Archuleta, who was officially the first freak of nature at the safety position.
11. Matt Jones, WR/QB, Arkansas (2004)
Because of Matt Jones, you are no longer allowed to make fun of quarterbacks at the NFL Combine.
In 2004, the former Arkansas QB—who was in the process of switching to wide receiver—jumped 39.5 inches in the vertical leap and ran a shockingly fast 4.37 40-yard dash.
Those are stellar numbers for a wide receiver.
But for a quarterback? Filthy.
10. Gerald Sensabaugh, S, North Carolina (2005)
At the 2005 NFL Combine, North Carolina safety Gerald Sensabaugh made Tar Heel fans wonder why he never laced up his sneakers and stepped on the basketball court.
In addition to an 11'1" broad jump, Sensabaugh ran a 4.4 40 and capped off his performance with a Combine-record 46-inch vertical jump.
For comparison, the average NBA vertical is believed to be somewhere in the high 20s.
Wow. Not bad, Gerald.
9. Justin Ernest, DT, Eastern Kentucky (1999)
Yeah, Justin Ernest only played one NFL season because he wasn't a very good football player.
So what? The dude was an absolute animal in the weight room.
In 1999, he set the Combine bench press record with 51 reps at 225 pounds.
You read that right: 51 reps!
8. Chris Johnson, RB, East Carolina (2008)
At East Carolina, Chris Johnson never really played in front of a national TV audience, so he made the most of the NFL Combine.
The 5'11", 195-pounder posted a 10'10" broad jump, a 35" vertical jump and a blazing 4.24 40-yard dash.
Johnson, once a relatively unknown back, used his performance to crack his way into the top 25 picks of the 2008 draft.
In his second NFL season in 2009, he became just the sixth running back in history to rush for 2,000 yards in a season.
7. Mario Williams, DE, NC State (2006)
Measuring in at 6'6", 290 pounds, Mario Williams put up numbers I didn't think were humanly possible.
The NC State defensive end registered 35 repetitions of 225 pounds on the bench press, a 4.66 40-yard dash and an NBA Jam-esque 40.5-inch vertical leap.
No wonder why they call him "Super Mario."
6. Scott Fujita, LB, California (2002)
At 6'5'', 250 pounds, you'd probably expect Scott Fujita to run in that 4.6 range in the 40-yard dash.
But you'd be wrong. Fujita ran a blazing 4.43 40 at the 2002 Combine.
He followed that up with a ridiculously impressive 42" vertical leap.
Only 10 players in Combine history have topped that mark.
5. Calvin Johnson, WR, Georgia Tech (2007)
How would you like to be a 6'5", 240-pound wide receiver who jumps 11'7" in the broad jump?
How would you like to be a 6'5", 240-pound wide receiver who has a 42" vertical leap?
Better yet, how would you like to be a 6'5", 240-pound wide receiver who runs a 4.35 40-yard dash...in someone else's shoes?
If you're Calvin Johnson, you can do all three.
4. Dwight Freeney, DE, Syracuse (2002)
Standing just 6'1" and weighing 268 pounds, Dwight Freeney is one of the smaller defensive ends you'll find in the NFL.
But his NFL Combine performance was not just big; it was huge.
Freeney had a 37" vertical leap, an impressive 28 bench press repetitions and a blistering 4.48 40 time.
He was selected 11th overall by the Indianapolis Colts, and I'm not quite sure, but I believe he's done pretty well for himself.
3. Bo Jackson, RB, Auburn (1986)
Bo Jackson isn't officially recognized as the fastest player in NFL Combine history—Chris Johnson is—but he's been credited with the fastest actual 40-yard dash ever.
And the time will baffle you: 4.12 seconds.
Don't believe me? Check out this story.
The technology was a little tricky (maybe faulty?) back then, but it doesn't matter what else Jackson did at the Combine.
A 4.12-second 40-yard dash is enough for him to be on this list.
2. Kevin Kasper, WR, Iowa (2001)
Kevin Kasper was actually a walk-on at Iowa, but he eventually made his way to the NFL.
Why? Because of his Combine performance, of course.
The 6'1", 197-pound receiver ran a 4.43 40 and has the seventh-best vertical jump in combine history at 43.5 inches, the eighth-fastest three-cone drill time at 6.56 seconds, and the fastest 20-yard shuttle time at 3.73 seconds.
Those drills might not get the publicity some of the other ones do, but the fact remains that Kasper officially owned each one of them.
1. Vernon Davis, TE, Maryland (2006)
Plain and simple, Vernon Davis is a monster.
The 255-pound tight end out of Maryland's numbers read like this: 10'8" broad jump, 42" vertical jump, 33 bench reps of 225 pounds and 4.38 40-yard dash.
It was like watching the Incredible Hulk combined with the Road Runner and a kangaroo out there.
Davis' incredible performance elevated him all the way to the No. 6 overall pick.
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