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 40 Times 
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Post 40 Times
Ok, so we have had a lot of talk on 40 times in every thread and I had a question on what everyone thought the effects would be if the players were to make up their bad 40 time at a Pro Day? For example, Beanie Wells and Malcom Jenkins. Do they still hold that stigma of being "slow" if they bust a sub 4.5/4.4?

I really HATE the 40 time stigma, it's like some people think they forget to play football because they are 1/10th of a second slower than expected, but it is an interesting question.

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February 27th, 2009, 5:06 pm
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To me, there are only two positions where the 40 time is significant; wide receivers and linebackers. Receivers for obvious reasons, and linebackers because you want to measure pursuit speed and their ability to keep up with a receiver, whether it be a slot guy, RB or TE.

CBs, as I've often stated, spend time going backward most of the time. Their ability to turn with the receivers is more about their hip fluidity than straight line speed. You can have a CB who runs a 4.3, but can't turn quickly and will lose more ground than a CB who runs a 4.5 but can turn without losing speed. 3 cone and shuttle runs help in that regard....somewhat.

DTs, what do you want them for? Space eater? Who cares? Stand there and occupy blockers. Interior pass rusher? I am interested in their 10 yard split, at best. Also want to see hand quickness, upper body strength and especially leg strength (which should be a measurable at the Combine...somewhat covered by broadjump and vertical). Have them push 500 lbs on a leg machine as many times as possible. Or have them do squats.

DEs, same thing as above. I want to see their 10 yard split, the quickness of their first step, and how well they use their hands.

RBs, I have no interest in straight line speed, because it is rare for a RB to get that breakaway opportunity these days. I'd rather see the cone drills and shuttle times.

40 times are overblown....big time. And it is the biggest reason teams reach, IMHO. Same thing with bench press. There's been guys in recent Combine memory who've put up the bar 39 times....and now aren't playing football.


February 27th, 2009, 5:22 pm
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Never been that concerned about 40 times and prefer to focus on the 10 and 20 yard splits to see a player's burst and how quickly they excelerate. It's also been brought up numerous times, but how often do you see a guy on sundays in shorts without pads starting from a sprinter's stance?

My big concern with Jenkins was that he looked less than stellar in position drills. If anything I'd wan't to see a better performance there. I think his best fit will be as a Cover 2 CB where he can jam, release, and jump routes. Or a better fit but without the glamour he's looking for will be as a playmaking FS. Wells has enough big time runs on film where he ran away from defenders that teams know he has big play capability regardless of his time.


February 27th, 2009, 8:09 pm
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One of the biggest parts to pay attention to in 40 times is how a guy gets off the blocks. Because that often will account for .1 to .2 seconds if it's really bad, I think. Imagine that. That's a difference between a 4.3 and a 4.5. When you account for how they come off the blocks, then you can get a good idea what their true speed is.

If you watched the cornerbacks this year, a lot of them seemed nervous from the pressure to do well as a group versus the spectacular performance the receivers had a couple days earlier. Maybe the fact that Dieon Sanders was watching over with a critical eye was a little more added pressure. The difference is really really obvious when you watch a guy who trained at his own university versus a guy who trained at API or Michael Johnson's, or one of those dedicated training centers.

So when you watch the forty, pay attention to the way they get off the blocks and then account for it in the 40. If he runs a 4.3 it's pretty safe to say they are fast. If they run a 4.5 and look like Gumby flopping off the line, then chances are they are still pretty fast. You will never, ever see a player get into a sprinter's stance on the football field, so you have to use the 40 as merely a tool to get an idea what their speed is.

Once in awhile someone does something pretty amazing, like Aaron Curry's 4.56 carrying all of his 254 pounds, then it's time to make a big deal out of it.

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February 27th, 2009, 8:23 pm
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m2karateman wrote:
To me, there are only two positions where the 40 time is significant; wide receivers and linebackers. Receivers for obvious reasons, and linebackers because you want to measure pursuit speed and their ability to keep up with a receiver, whether it be a slot guy, RB or TE.

CBs, as I've often stated, spend time going backward most of the time. Their ability to turn with the receivers is more about their hip fluidity than straight line speed. You can have a CB who runs a 4.3, but can't turn quickly and will lose more ground than a CB who runs a 4.5 but can turn without losing speed. 3 cone and shuttle runs help in that regard....somewhat.

DTs, what do you want them for? Space eater? Who cares? Stand there and occupy blockers. Interior pass rusher? I am interested in their 10 yard split, at best. Also want to see hand quickness, upper body strength and especially leg strength (which should be a measurable at the Combine...somewhat covered by broadjump and vertical). Have them push 500 lbs on a leg machine as many times as possible. Or have them do squats.

DEs, same thing as above. I want to see their 10 yard split, the quickness of their first step, and how well they use their hands.

RBs, I have no interest in straight line speed, because it is rare for a RB to get that breakaway opportunity these days. I'd rather see the cone drills and shuttle times.

40 times are overblown....big time. And it is the biggest reason teams reach, IMHO. Same thing with bench press. There's been guys in recent Combine memory who've put up the bar 39 times....and now aren't playing football.


I actually disagree with about half of this. First, I agree that the 40 is an important indicator for success for running backs. Football Outsiders has determined something called "Speed Score" which adjusts 40 time for weight, which is a pretty good (but not flawless) tool in deciding which running backs will be good.

I have to disagree that the 40 isn't important for cornerbacks. Yeah, fluidity is important, and a guy with elite hips can make up for a lot, but there comes a point where a corner has to cover a fast receiver man on man and when the ball is in the air he has to be able to run with him--especially because he often has to recover because he's at a disadvantage because he's backing up. It's not a coincidence that all of the starters for the Pro Bowl ran 40's under 4.5. Yes, there are guys like Brandon Flowers with slower 40's who end up being pretty good, but since those guys are the exception rather than the rule, a slower 40 is a legitimate concern. Malcolm Jenkins may be one of those guys, but you better be sure after reviewing tape that he can make up for slower than average straight line speed if you're going to draft him highly. Antrel Rolle had a better 40 than Jenkins and the Cardinals had to move him to free safety.

I also disagree that the 40 is especially useful for linebackers. I actually did a lot of research for a blog post that I'm going to make about scouting linebackers (shameless plug!) and it turns out that there is only one drill that matters, and it's not the 40 (at least not for guys who are drafted in the first two rounds). If you adjust for a player's weight, there may be a slight relationship, but not much. As a point of reference, Lofa Tatupu ran a 4.83 40 and the fastest 40 by a linebacker in the first two rounds since 2003 is Boss Bailey. Yikes!

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February 27th, 2009, 8:38 pm
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Strawberries&Chocolat wrote:
I actually disagree with about half of this. First, I agree that the 40 is an important indicator for success for running backs. Football Outsiders has determined something called "Speed Score" which adjusts 40 time for weight, which is a pretty good (but not flawless) tool in deciding which running backs will be good.

I have to disagree that the 40 isn't important for cornerbacks. Yeah, fluidity is important, and a guy with elite hips can make up for a lot, but there comes a point where a corner has to cover a fast receiver man on man and when the ball is in the air he has to be able to run with him--especially because he often has to recover because he's at a disadvantage because he's backing up. It's not a coincidence that all of the starters for the Pro Bowl ran 40's under 4.5. Yes, there are guys like Brandon Flowers with slower 40's who end up being pretty good, but since those guys are the exception rather than the rule, a slower 40 is a legitimate concern. Malcolm Jenkins may be one of those guys, but you better be sure after reviewing tape that he can make up for slower than average straight line speed if you're going to draft him highly. Antrel Rolle had a better 40 than Jenkins and the Cardinals had to move him to free safety.

I also disagree that the 40 is especially useful for linebackers. I actually did a lot of research for a blog post that I'm going to make about scouting linebackers (shameless plug!) and it turns out that there is only one drill that matters, and it's not the 40 (at least not for guys who are drafted in the first two rounds). If you adjust for a player's weight, there may be a slight relationship, but not much. As a point of reference, Lofa Tatupu ran a 4.83 40 and the fastest 40 by a linebacker in the first two rounds since 2003 is Boss Bailey. Yikes!


First, Antrell Rolle suffered a serious knee injury, and as such isn't the same player. That's why he was moved to free safety...it had nothing to do with 40 times. It has to do with the difficulty related to moving backward constantly and having to jam. Doing those two activities puts undo stress on the knees.....yes, jamming does that. To have an effective jam, it starts from the ground, not the shoulders. By the time a corner has to turn and run with the receiver, they have already "gotten out of the blocks", so to speak. Read HBs post, because it is SPOT on. Many of the best times are posted by those who came from track backgrounds, not pure football backgrounds. There is technique in how to get a good start. And for linebackers, I said I pay attention to the 40 times, but I don't make picks based on it.

Most of these players, but not all, are trained by people whose sole purpose is to make them seem something that they aren't. Max out their forty times, get them primed for the bench press, and get them "explosive" for the vertical. Those three tests are the ones people pay attention to most, so much of their training is geared towards maxing out those particular numbers. After the Combine and the Pro Days, it's back to being who they are, and training for football, not for some sideshow to make money.

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February 27th, 2009, 11:23 pm
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m2karateman wrote:
Strawberries&Chocolat wrote:
I actually disagree with about half of this. First, I agree that the 40 is an important indicator for success for running backs. Football Outsiders has determined something called "Speed Score" which adjusts 40 time for weight, which is a pretty good (but not flawless) tool in deciding which running backs will be good.

I have to disagree that the 40 isn't important for cornerbacks. Yeah, fluidity is important, and a guy with elite hips can make up for a lot, but there comes a point where a corner has to cover a fast receiver man on man and when the ball is in the air he has to be able to run with him--especially because he often has to recover because he's at a disadvantage because he's backing up. It's not a coincidence that all of the starters for the Pro Bowl ran 40's under 4.5. Yes, there are guys like Brandon Flowers with slower 40's who end up being pretty good, but since those guys are the exception rather than the rule, a slower 40 is a legitimate concern. Malcolm Jenkins may be one of those guys, but you better be sure after reviewing tape that he can make up for slower than average straight line speed if you're going to draft him highly. Antrel Rolle had a better 40 than Jenkins and the Cardinals had to move him to free safety.

I also disagree that the 40 is especially useful for linebackers. I actually did a lot of research for a blog post that I'm going to make about scouting linebackers (shameless plug!) and it turns out that there is only one drill that matters, and it's not the 40 (at least not for guys who are drafted in the first two rounds). If you adjust for a player's weight, there may be a slight relationship, but not much. As a point of reference, Lofa Tatupu ran a 4.83 40 and the fastest 40 by a linebacker in the first two rounds since 2003 is Boss Bailey. Yikes!


First, Antrell Rolle suffered a serious knee injury, and as such isn't the same player. That's why he was moved to free safety...it had nothing to do with 40 times. It has to do with the difficulty related to moving backward constantly and having to jam. Doing those two activities puts undo stress on the knees.....yes, jamming does that. To have an effective jam, it starts from the ground, not the shoulders. By the time a corner has to turn and run with the receiver, they have already "gotten out of the blocks", so to speak. Read HBs post, because it is SPOT on. Many of the best times are posted by those who came from track backgrounds, not pure football backgrounds. There is technique in how to get a good start. And for linebackers, I said I pay attention to the 40 times, but I don't make picks based on it.

Most of these players, but not all, are trained by people whose sole purpose is to make them seem something that they aren't. Max out their forty times, get them primed for the bench press, and get them "explosive" for the vertical. Those three tests are the ones people pay attention to most, so much of their training is geared towards maxing out those particular numbers. After the Combine and the Pro Days, it's back to being who they are, and training for football, not for some sideshow to make money.


True, Rolle was injured and that may have affected his speed such that he needed to be moved to free safety. But the point remains that Malcolm Jenkins's 40 time is tied for the worst for any cornerback drafted in the first two rounds since at least 2004. It's a legitimate concern. But would I draft him if he fell to #20? You bet. I just don't think that it is irrational for him to drop out of the top 10.

I'm not saying Jenkins will be a bust or even that he can't play corner. I'm just saying that if he can't post the 40 time with all of his draft prep, etc. you better be sure that you have the tape right.

I am also well aware that guys inflate their times by getting good starts--but almost all of these guys train professionally to get that good start to bolster their time. All in all, it washes out. What I was disagreeing with was that the 40 times were only significant for linebackers and running backs, and I would contend while 40 times are not "deterministic" for cornerbacks, they are more important for cornerbacks than any other position. You just can't name that many good cornerbacks with bad 40's.

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Game tapes....it's the one thing Rod had right. Tape don't lie.


The ironic thing is that Rod didn't follow his own advice. He cared a lot more about getting guys who were hard workers than guys who were actually good (see Dizon, Jordon). That works for high school, but we saw how it worked in the pro's.

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February 28th, 2009, 12:57 am
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Quote:
Once in awhile someone does something pretty amazing, like Aaron Curry's 4.56 carrying all of his 254 pounds, then it's time to make a big deal out of it.


Cliff Avril is 6'3'' and 251. These were notes from his combine:

Quote:
Cliff Avril was one of several Big Ten prospects to show up at the NFL Combine and show that he was far more athletic than anticipated. Avril ran a 4.51 40 yard dash, which was one of the fastest times by a front seven defender.


Avril was the 29th pick of the 3rd round. His stock was supposedly improved enough to be considered a likely mid to late second round pick. He ended up dropping a full round from there. That is one instance where the impact of a great combine didn't have as much of a positive effect as anticipated.

The speed/weight combo is not exactly unprecedented, but coupled with his already high stock, it makes Curry special.

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February 28th, 2009, 3:42 am
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