The NFL Combine: Why The 40 Is The Most Overrated Draft Tool

Kevin DeBenedetto@KDebo9Correspondent IFebruary 23, 2010

OAKLAND, CA - NOVEMBER 15:  Darrius Heyward-Bey #12 of the Oakland Raiders looks for the ball during their game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on November 15, 2009 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

I know, I know.

You read the title, and think I am crazy. But it is true after all. People read the stats, watch all the game film, and here nothing but good thing. But have a defensive back run a 4.5 forty time, and all of a sudden he could be dropped into the second round or later.

Can someone please tell me why a 40 time is so important? The athlete is running in a straight line, without pads; that is suppose to translate to on the field play? How does that help a quarterback? Or an offensive lineman? What about a defensive lineman?

Now I know what you might be saying. "But it is important for a defensive back or wide receiver!" My question is, why?

How often does a receiver run a straight line on the field? Once, maybe twice a game? Same with defensive back. Give me a defensive back who can run the three cone drill in six seconds, and has great hip movement running a 4.5 forty over someone who can run the forty in 4.35.

Look at these past recent years, and look at all the "workout warriors" who's draft value skyrocketed after the forty.Darrius Hayward Bey, Vernon Gholston, Donte Whitner. These players were considered late first rounders, ran a phenomenal forty times for their size, and got shot into the top 10.

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For this upcoming draft, look at DE/OLB prospect Brandon Graham. Before I start, I think Graham will make a great player in the league. He has been talked about being picked anywhere from 25th to the early second round.

When interviewed, Graham said he can run a 4.5 forty. Now people are talking about him going top 10 if he indeed can run that fast.

How does that change anything? Show me the lateral movement speed he has, not vertical speed. Watch the game film, and see how he was the hardest working player for four years while at Michigan, and had a nonstop motor. Don't worry about how fast he can run.

Sure, we were awed at Chris Johnsons' 4.24, and it does show on the field, when he has an open lane. If he did the three cone drill, I would of bet he would produce the fastest time of any running back. His acceleration is what gives him his burst to get to the open field.

So keep your forty times, scouts. Let me see the acceleration of that left guard prospect and his ability to pull around and engage a linebacker, so my running back can get free. Let me see the finesse of the defensive end I might draft and if he can shed the left tackle to get to Peyton Manning. I don't care if he can run a forty yard dash in 4.8 seconds. Neither should you.


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