While it is irresponsible to judge an athlete—particularly one belonging to a sport so heavily influenced by intangibles—simply by his ability to run in a straight line, it is sometimes hard not to be infatuated with raw numbers accumulated at the Combine.
Darius Hayward-Bey blew everybody away with his speed, and this resulted in his being drafted way sooner than anybody expected, as well as him failing miserably. But there could be a new record on the horizon, one that needs to be accounted for with a cautious eye.
Ricardo Lockette, hailing from Fort Valley State, may be the fastest person to ever run the 40-yard dash at the Combine. Chris Johnson and Rondel Melendez are currently tied for the record of 4.24 seconds.
Lockette, who was the 2009 200 meters champion in Division II track, should have no problem improving upon his listed 40-yard dash time of 4.35, something he refers to as a major disappointment.
His breathtaking speed, combined with his surprising strength (the man maxes out on the bench at 343 pounds and gets 23 reps with 225), will leave NFL Scouts drooling at the thought of him blowing past bigger corners and bullying smaller ones.
His height is estimated to be around the 6'3" range with weight hovering at 212 pounds, meaning scouts will have a lot of trouble finding any reason on paper to discount him.
If he proves to be half as good at catching a football as he is with everything else, watch out defenses.