The 2012 NFL Combine: not so fast!

Cold, Hard Football Facts for Feb 29, 2012



By Kerry J. Byrne
Cold, Hard Football Facts speed merchant


The 2012 rookie talent pool brings very little speed to the table – at least if the trusty old 40-yard dash is any indication.
 
The 40 is one of the standard ways to take the measure of an athlete. Let the record books show that the fastest known time in the 40 was 2.12 seconds, set by a certain website publisher as a 5-8, 190-pound junior at Boston College.
 
Sadly, those skills are wasted on the NFL: even with our curious mix of keyboard bravado, brazen sexcellence and chug-a-lug-ability, we can’t compete in the football version of the 40, which is apparently a running competition of some kind.
 
The fastest performer in football's version of the 40 here in the 2012 combine was Central Florida cornerback Josh Robinson, with a time of 4.33 seconds.

How does Robinson's effort stack up against recent history? Not well.
 
Thirty-eight players since 1999 were faster in the 40 than the speediest prospect in the 2012 draft.
 
And even then, we had the wait until Tuesday, the final day of the combine, to see the best effort of 2012. DBs like Robinson were featured on Tuesday – DB being another term, like the 40, that means something quite different when applied to the CHFF crew instead of football players.
 
Last year alone, three players ran the 40 faster than Robinson.
 
The slow-footed nature of the class of 2012 draft prospects is evident by the fact that Robinson proved 3/100th of a second faster than the three players who tied for second this year: receivers Travis Benjamin of Miami, Stephen Hill of Georgia Tech and Chris Owusu of Stanford displayed the fastest feet before Tuesday – each clocking in at 4.36 seconds.
 
Hell, we could have finished TWO 40s in 4.36 seconds!
 
Those three, the second fastest guys in the 2012 draft class, tied for just the 79th fastest time since 1999. That’s right – 78 players since 1999 ran the 40 faster than the second fastest guys in 2012.
 
Here’s a look at the fastest 78 players in the 40 since 1999, the guys who ran it in 4.35 or faster.

Keep in mind that there are various sources of information out there for NFL Combine 40 speeds (the record keeping has not always been an exact science). We culled these numbers from NFL.com (the “official” source) when possible and from other sources when needed. There is often a conflict.

LSU track star Trindon Holliday, who had a cup of coffee with the Houston Texans in 2011, is perhaps the most notable example of a conflict.

He was widely reported for a blazing 4.21 40 time. Both The Sports XChange and NFLCombineResults report him with a 4.21 40. But “official” NFL reports say he topped out at 4.34. Jacoby Ford was also reported with a 4.21 40 in some sources but a 4.34 by the NFL. In those cases we went with “official” numbers.

There's another question here looking at the list of speediest prospects: does blazing speed in the 40 at the NFL Combine have much to do with success on the field in the NFL? We'll dive into that topic next. But even a quick look at the list below makes it pretty obvious to the average fan that blazing speed alone does not tell us too much about a player's chances for success at the next level.
78 Fastest Prospects (40<4.36), 1999-2012
  Year Name College POS Height (in) Weight 40 Yard
1 2008 Chris Johnson East Carolina RB 71 197 4.24
1 1999 Rondel Menendez Eastern Kentucky WR 69 178 4.24
3 2009 Darrius Heyward-Bey Maryland WR 74 210 4.25
4 2005 Jerome Mathis Hampton WR 71 181 4.26
5 2010 C.J. Spiller Clemson RB 71 196 4.27
5 2005 Stanford Routt Houston CB 74 193 4.27
7 1999 Champ Bailey Georgia CB 73 184 4.28
7 2011 Demarcus Van Dyke Miami CB 73 176 4.28
7 2009 Mike Wallace Mississippi WR 73 199 4.28
10 2009 Johnny Knox Abilene Christian WR 73 185 4.29
10 1999 Jay Hinton Morgan State (MD) RB 71 200 4.29
10 2005 Fabian Washington Nebraska CB 71 188 4.29
10 2008 Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie Tennessee State CB 74 184 4.29
14 2009 Mike Thomas Arizona WR 68 195 4.3
14 2006 Tye Hill Clemson CB 70 185 4.3
14 2007 Yamon Figurs Kansas State WR 71 174 4.3
14 2005 Darrent Williams Oklahoma State CB 69 176 4.3
18 2011 Edmond Gates Abilene Christian WR 73 192 4.31
18 2008 Tyvon Branch Connecticut CB 73 204 4.31
18 2002 Aaron Lockett Kansas State WR 68 155 4.31
18 2011 Patrick Peterson Louisiana State CB 72 219 4.31
18 2004 Michael Waddell North Carolina CB 71 187 4.31
18 2009 Deon Butler Penn State WR 71 182 4.31
18 2008 Justin King Penn State CB 71 192 4.31
18 2009 Tiquan Underwood Rutgers WR 73 184 4.31
18 2006 Johnathan Joseph South Carolina CB 71 193 4.31
18 2010 Taylor Mays Southern California FS 75 230 4.31
28 2005 Chris McKenzie Arizona State CB 69 185 4.32
28 2007 Chris Houston Arkansas CB 70 185 4.32
28 2002 Tim Carter Auburn WR 73 190 4.32
28 2008 Orlando Scandrick Boise State CB 70 192 4.32
28 2009 Louis Murphy Florida WR 75 203 4.32
28 2006 Chad Jackson Florida WR 73 213 4.32
28 2006 Tim Jennings Georgia CB 68 185 4.32
28 2010 Akwasi Owusu-Ansah Indiana (PA) CB 73 207 4.32
28 2005 Troy Williamson South Carolina WR 74 203 4.32
28 2003 Kevin Garrett Southern Methodist CB 70 194 4.32
28 2007 Jason Hill Washington State WR 73 204 4.32
39 2008 Dexter Jackson Appalachian State (NC) WR 70 182 4.33
39 2008 Darren McFadden Arkansas RB 73 211 4.33
39 1999 Karsten Bailey Auburn WR 73 205 4.33
39 2012 Josh Robinson Central Florida CB 70 199 4.33
39 2009 Chris Clemons Clemson FS 73 208 4.33
39 2004 Carlos Francis Texas Tech WR 69 198 4.33
45 2010 Trindon Holliday Louisiana State WR 65 166 4.34
45 2011 Julio Jones Alabama WR 75 220 4.34
45 2008 Josh Barrett Arizona State SS 74 223 4.34
45 2004 Ahmad Carroll Arkansas CB 70 195 4.34
45 2010 Ben Tate Auburn RB 71 220 4.34
45 2010 Jahvid Best California RB 70 199 4.34
45 2010 Jacoby Ford Clemson WR 69 186 4.34
45 1999 Chris Watson Eastern Illinois CB 73 191 4.34
45 2006 Willie Reid Florida State WR 71 188 4.34
45 2011 Ricardo Lockette Fort Valley State (GA) WR 74 211 4.34
45 2005 Domonique Foxworth Maryland CB 71 184 4.34
45 2003 Tyrone Calico Middle Tenn. St WR 76 223 4.34
45 2004 Dunta Robinson South Carolina CB 71 186 4.34
45 1999 Kevin Brooks South Carolina CB 69 169 4.34
45 2006 Michael Huff Texas SS 73 204 4.34
45 2009 Cedric Peerman Virginia RB 70 216 4.34
45 2000 Antwan Harri Virginia CB 69 186 4.34
45 2004 DeAngelo Hall Virginia Tech CB 70 202 4.34
45 2003 B.J. Tucker Wisconsin CB 71 188 4.34
64 2006 Devin Aromashodu Auburn WR 75 201 4.35
64 2008 DeSean Jackson California WR 70 169 4.35
64 2007 Mike Walker Central Florida WR 74 209 4.35
64 2008 Andre Caldwell Florida WR 73 204 4.35
64 2007 Calvin Johnson Georgia Tech WR 77 239 4.35
64 2004 Bob Sanders Iowa SS 69 204 4.35
64 2009 Demetrius Byrd Louisiana State WR 73 196 4.35
64 2007 LaRon Landry Louisiana State FS 73 213 4.35
64 2009 Lardarius Webb Nicholls State CB 70 179 4.35
64 2003 Justin Fargas Southern California RB 73 219 4.35
64 2000 R. Jay Soward Southern California WR 70 177 4.35
64 2011 Aldrick Robinson Southern Methodist WR 70 184 4.35
64 2001 Jonathan Carter Troy WR 73 180 4.35
64 2004 Roc Alexander Washington CB 71 185 4.35
64 2005 Karl Paymah Washington State CB 73 204 4.35


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