To most of us, the NFL Scouting Combine drill which gets our top attention is the 40-yard dash. It’s the flashiest stat for the receivers, running backs and defensive backs for sure. Not so sure it’s the actual best predictor for how well a guy will play football at the next level, but you have to admit it’s the glitziest.
Here is at least a verified benchmark for those 40-times and their 10-yard splits, gleaned from The Athletic by one studious poster at BGN named Greasy Meale:
The average 40-yard dash results for the top-30 NFL players at each position:
The average 10-yard split results for the top-30 NFL players at each position:
There. Thanks to Greasy Meale, we now have a better context for the 40-times coming in this week.
The NFL Scouting Combine takes place this week in Indianapolis. It’s the biggest week in the scouting world ahead of the NFL Draft in late April as all 32 teams have convened to meet with the 337 prospects invited by the league.
In years past, every NFL team had a suite at Lucas Oil Stadium to watch the on-field workouts and a hotel room at the Crowne Plaza across the street from Lucas Oil where the formal interviews were conducted with the players.
However, this is the first year where the workouts are being held from 4 P.M. until 11:00 P.M at night. In previous years, the workouts would take place in the morning immediately following the weigh-ins and then the teams would go to the hotel for the formal and informal interviews at night. This year, teams will have a separate suite from which to watch the workouts, and another suite in the stadium for the formal interviews.
Between the formal (and informal) interviews, the Eagles will try to meet with every player at the Combine.
The workouts technically started Wednesday afternoon when the quarterbacks, wide receivers, and tight ends performed in the bench press. But it’s on Thursday when the on-field action got underway. A group of Eagles coaches and player personnel executives were in the suite, while the rest of the contingent gathered together, typically in the lower-level of the stadium around the 50-yard line to get a good view of everything or shift down to the 40-yard line to time the 40-yard dash. Each team will have a couple of coaches and scouts on the field to get an up-close view of not just the performances by the prospects, but how they interact with one another, how they respond to a good or bad performance. Every little behavior could be an indicator that a player either will or will not be a good fit for the locker room.
Since we brought up the subject, here are the “big name” 40-times from Thursday:
Key official 40-yard dash times
QB Cole McDonald: 4.58
QB Jalen Hurts: 4.59
QB Justin Herbert: 4.68
QB Steven Montez: 4.68
QB Jordan Love: 4.74
QB Jacob Eason: 4.89
WR Henry Ruggs III: 4.27
WR Quez Watkins: 4.35
WR Denzel Mims: 4.38
WR Darnell Mooney: 4.38
WR Devin Duvernay: 4.39
WR Antonio Gibson: 4.39
WR Chase Claypool: 4.42
WR Justin Jefferson: 4.43
WR John Hightower: 4.43
WR Jerry Jeudy: 4.45
WR Jalen Reagor: 4.47
WR Donovan People-Jones: 4.48
WR CeeDee Lamb: 4.50
WR Brandon Aiyuk: 4.50
TE Albert Okwuegbunam: 4.49
TE Brycen Hopkins: 4.66
TE Stephen Sullivan: 4.66
TE Cole Kmet: 4.70
Just for the record, here are NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah’s top takes from Day 1 of the drills:
Jalen Hurts, Oklahoma (No. 104 to Steelers): Hurts was the second-fastest QB of the day with a 4.59-second 40-yard dash. He tied for first among QBs with a 10-foot-5 broad jump. Hurts also had a great day with on-field position drills. Jeremiah doesn’t see his athleticism being a problem for him.
“The issues that Jalen Hurts has sometimes is vision and anticipation, which you’re not going to really see in this setting. We saw the athlete that he is and you see him throw the football. The ball is live. It jumps out of his hand. And watching him go through the drop right here I think his feet when you stack him up with the rest of the guys up there looks pretty good.”
Justin Herbert, Oregon (No. 4 to Chargers): Herbert, who stands at 6-foot-6, 236 pounds, ran a 4.68 40, which is great for a guy his size.
“He’s a tricky evaluation because you love the size. You love the production. He had won a lot of games there at Oregon. I just want to see him cut it loose and be a little more aggressive and enter into that attack mode. Sometimes he plays a little bit too cautious. He never took a snap under center in college. So, this is all brand new for him as well as it is for a lot of these guys.”
Jake Fromm, Georgia (No. 38 to Patriots): Out of the 13 quarterbacks who ran on Thursday, Fromm was the slowest with a 5.01 40.
“Fromm doesn’t have a big arm. But you will see with him timing, anticipation. He’s had the same arm his whole life. So, he knows how to navigate around some of those concerns, get the ball out early. I don’t think he fits every team. But I think there’s handful of teams. And I look at teams kind of in the south and the west coast. You know play inside. I look at a team like the Atlanta Falcons to try and get somebody to sit behind Matt Ryan for a couple of years. Maybe with the payoff down the road. I would imagine in that stadium would be a popular pick.”
“He’s my 18th overall player, so he’s a first-round quarterback all day long.”
Steven Montez, Colorado: Montez impressed with his athleticism and arm talent, running a 4.68 40, third-best amongst quarterbacks.
“He’s got a lot of upside. For me, it’s just making better decisions. He’ll have some unbelievable ‘wow’ plays and then he’ll have some easy misses. But we’ve seen him run today, how athletic he is, and I’ve seen the ball jump off his hand.
Joe Burrow, LSU (No. 1 to Bengals): Burrow decided not to work out during the combine this week, saying LSU’s long run in the College Football Playoff as a reason for sitting out drills. His Pro Day will be on April 3. During the broadcast, Jeremiah compared him to Patriots QB Tom Brady.
“When you watch these guys side by side, Tom Brady mechanically, watch what you see from Brady and tell me this does not look identically the same from Joe Burrow. It is eerie. And it’s just not my opinion in saying that. You see the comparison there. The poise, the pocket awareness and they both absolutely have that swagger. But Kevin Faulk on that staff at LSU. As the scouts have come rolling through there and they ask ‘Kevin, you’ve been in the NFL a long time. What do you think of this Burrow kid?’
“And he goes ‘I’m telling you this is Tom Brady. This kid reminds me so much of Tom Brady.’ And I understand that’s the greatest of all-time and I know comparisons get people all upset. But when you watch them mechanically and you’re around their personalities, their leadership style, there’s a lot of similarities.”
Henry Ruggs III, Alabama (No. 21 to Eagles): In his highly anticipated 40-yard dash, Ruggs blazed to a 4.27, not quite breaking John Ross‘ record of 4.22 but impressing nonetheless. Jeremiah said after Ruggs’ 40 that he “was in the mix” to be the first receiver off the board.Unfortunately, Ruggs did not finish drills, missing some position work with a bag of ice wrapped around his right thigh.
Justin Jefferson, LSU (No. 36 to Giants): Jefferson ranks at No. 16 on Jeremiah’s top-50 draft prospect rankings. The WR had quite an impressive day receiving high praise from D.J. after running a 4.43 40.
“That is huge. That’s the most important time that we’ve seen today. He’s a great player on tape and now you’ve got some big-time legitimate speed on record to back it up.”
Chase Claypool, Notre Dame: The wideout showed great hands during his on-field drills and ran a 4.42 40.
“That’s a great time for him. This dude is tough. He’s a gunner on punt team, makes a bunch of tackle, really physical in the redzone. That’s a great time for him.”
“It looked like Reagor got a little too thick. I saw how well he ran on tape, but it didn’t really match up today.”
Hunter Bryant, Washington (No. 37 to Chargers): “He didn’t run as fast as I thought he would, but he’s having a good field workout, the way he’s moving around.”