I am not a big fan of the forty-yard dash. Yes it is entertaining, and provides great conversation, but it is ultimately one of the most misused football test out there. Many scouts and coaches revere the forty-yard dash as uber important. They tend to base their draft picks around this test, and more often than not, it leads to mis-picks. Lets take for instance, former Virginia Tech CB, Brandon Flowers. He was one of the best cornerbacks in the 2008 draft. Teams were all set to make him a first round selection. The NFL combine rolled around, and Flowers ran a 4.5 forty. After that, his stock fell. Just that easily, he went from a bona fide first round pick to a second round pick. Coaches ignored his game tape, in favor for his forty time. Now, Flowers is excelling in the NFL. He is now considered a shutdown corner for the Kansas City Chiefs. His speed is not hampering him in the least.
I won’t make the argument for the forty yard dash to be abolished. It can be effective at boosting deserving players stock. Chris Johnson ran a 4.2 forty and he sky rocketed into the first round. I just simply want coaches to place less value on it, and more on game tape. What’s more important, how fast a player runs in a tee-shirt and shorts, or how fast a player processes on field information? What about how fast a player plays with pads and a helmet on? There are other determining factors to how fast a player is. Speed isn’t always the answer. Darrius Heyward-Bey set the combine on fire with his speed, but what is he doing with that speed in the NFL? The Oakland Raiders made a fatal error and selected Heyward-Bey 7th overall in the 2009 draft. Now the Raiders have a very fast non-factor at wide receiver. He can’t catch, run routes or block very well. If a player spends 3-4 years providing evidence to his on field skills, lets not ignore it for 4 seconds of bliss.