Forty Yard Dash, The Most Important Test In Football?

Posted: January 11, 2011 by Larry McDaniel Jr. in Larry’s Halftime Huddle
Tags: , ,

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 more useless football test. 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 cornerback 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, Flowers stock fell. Just that easily he went from a bonafide first round pick to a second. 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 used as an effective tool to boost 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 importance 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? 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 giving evidence to his on field skills, lets not ignore it for 4 seconds of speed evidence.

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