Wake Up Call: Notable 40 Times


Arian Foster breaks a ton of big runs, but the stopwatch at the NFL Combine ran out of juice before he crossed the finish line. See who else lost the Underwear Olympics, but helps NFL teams win games. Photo by Wade Rackley.

Riddles for you. What do you call a wide receiver that runs in the 4.61-4.72 range in the 40 at the NFL Combine or Pro Day?

What about a running back that runs 4.66-4.69?

A bust?

Yeah, in February. Maybe in April. But you better try on some different labels for the guy come September.

NFL starter. League receptions leader. Perennial Pro Bowler. Super Bowl star. Here are some notable 40 times for players in the annual Underwear Olympics broadcast on NFL Network.

4.61 – Wes Welker

4.62 – Brandon Lloyd

4.63 – Larry Fitzgerald

4.72 – Anquan Boldin

4.61 – T.J. Housmandzadeh

Here are some some 4.5-4.6 guys that play faster where it counts than they are in compression shorts and running in a straight line.

4.55 – Hines Ward

4.57 – Brandon Marshall

4.53 – Greg Jennings

4.54 – Chad Ochocinco

4.51 – Jordy Nelson

Other notable times for QBs and RBs.

4.55 – Steven Jackson and Ahmad Bradshaw

4.66 – Frank Gore

4.69 – Arian Foster

4.67 – Drew Brees

4.8 -Peyton Manning

5.23 Tom Brady

4.71 Aaron Rodgers

I could name more, but I have to get back to studying games. Just thought you might need some perspective today to cut through the hype about wide receivers, runners, and quarterbacks with 4.3-4.4 straight line speed.

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6 comments

  1. Sage advice, Matt. Straight line speed is just but one of many measurables. Many stars you noted possess certain immeasurables that make them special on Sundays.

  2. Matt (and others), what do you think about the utility of the “Speed Score” metric that combines weight with 40-time? I also was thinking Shuttle times could be measured in the same way. Clearly, these metrics cannot be taken out of the larger context of a player’s skill set and general attitude. But do you think they have some meaningful utility in player analysis? Or is it all just garbage, even when the various times are adjusted for player weights?

    Interested to hear your thoughts.

    Speed Score = (weight*200)/(40-time^4)

    • Lab,

      You know, I haven’t looked into this a lot. I’m sure it has its place based on how it’s applied. I can see how it might help teams make sure they are picking players that have basic athleticism for the position. Whether it is used well or not, I don’t know. I will be interested in checking this out in the coming months.

      Sorry I can’t give you a good opinion, but thanks for sharing.

      M

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