As sports fans, we love to get sucked into the NFL Combine. For some strange reason, we love watching 22-year-old men audition for the NFL in nothing but skintight clothes.
At what point do we put our feet down and say, "How does running around in shorts make people think you can play football?"
Joe Haden posted unofficial 40-yard dash times of 4.57 and 4.60. Haden, the consensus top cornerback and second best defensive back in the draft, will receive an unimaginable amount of flak for it.
Every time something like this happens with a great player, we ask, "When does a player run 40 yards in a straight line? Also, when is it just in shorts and a tank top?"
Football is a game of lateral movement. If Haden comes out and puts up a 3.70 on the 20-yard shuttle and a 6.60 on the three-cone drill, people aren't going to care about it. However, those numbers may be just as, if not more, important than the 40-yard dash.
At 5'11", 193 lbs, Haden possesses very good size for an NFL cornerback. His body of work is fantastic, but scouts will take a second look at his game film to see if he does lack the speed to match up with some of the top WRs in the game.
Another specimen who will get a second look is Dexter McCluster. Expected to blaze something in the 4.3s, McCluster ran a "pedestrian" 4.58. Scouts will go to his game film to see if he is really that slow or if he just performs better in a football uniform.
Regardless, the 40-yard dash has become a barometer of how a straight-line athlete will translate to the NFL. Some rise to the occasion, while others fall flat on their faces. But remember, the game tape doesn't lie.