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The 40, Timed Speed and Playing Speed.

TC : 3/10/2018 2:42 pm
I was reviewing Combine results for RB, and was struck again by the common disparity between what a player does on the field and what the Combine or other similar tests show.

Someone recently suggested that Combine results tell us all we need to know about how a player will perform in the NFL, when actually, they are often misleading. For those who've watched the game for a while there are tons of NFL players who play much better or poorer than their raw abilities would predict. And among RB's, that's particularly true, where the whole is often more, or less, than the sum of its parts. I've always disliked the Cowboys, but have to acknowledge I've admired some of their players, like Witten, for example. And among RB's Emmitt Smith was a terrific RB, irrespective of dumping on what he did as a player. The point being; he was pretty slow, but played well anyway.

According to NFL.Com RB rankings, Ronald Jones is the 3rd best RB. And everyone else ranks him highly too. He's very elusive and has a great burst. So was I surprised to find he ran a 4.65 40 at the Combine! That's one of the slower times among RB's. Does that mean he'll stink because of it? Hell no! Believe what your eyes tell you from watching the player in games! There's every reason he should be a fine RB, 4.65 40 be damned.

And it's hopeful to me to paraphrase some of what Gettleman had say, that he's more interested in drafting football players, rather than just athletes.
I guess you didn't watch the combine  
robbieballs2003 : 3/10/2018 2:58 pm : link
Ronald Jones came up lame and stopped participating after that because he retweaked his hamstring. He pulled up about a quarter of the way through and still ran like a 4.66. So, this example is not a good one of a player not running a good time because he was injured.
RE: I guess you didn't watch the combine  
TC : 3/10/2018 3:07 pm : link
In comment 13857844 robbieballs2003 said:
Quote:
Ronald Jones came up lame and stopped participating after that because he retweaked his hamstring. He pulled up about a quarter of the way through and still ran like a 4.66. So, this example is not a good one of a player not running a good time because he was injured.

I guess you're right!

I watched the video of his 40 on the website, and didn't specifically note that, though it's a very short clip. He didn't look happy after his run, but I didn't see undue distress during it. Undoubtedly, watching it live would be different.

But I stand by my other observations.
Kamara ran  
XBRONX : 3/10/2018 3:16 pm : link
at 4.56. The combine is a small window into speed. Nobody gets into a sprinters stance, in shorts with track shoes on an NFL field.
anticipation and being able to process what is happening on the field  
Peter from NH (formerly CT) : 3/10/2018 3:17 pm : link
has a lot to do with playing speed. Be able to change speeds has a lot more to do with getting open then pure speed. The combine helps explain what a scout sees on the field. A small part of the evaluation process.
Running Backs and defenders react to what is happening  
Reale01 : 3/10/2018 4:29 pm : link
The fact that the "could" move quickly does not mean they will. A slower back that sees the hole quicker will get through it faster than a faster back who does not recognize it as quickly. On defense that is just as true.

There are certainly minimum standards to meet, but a 4.8 LB can get to the ball carrier faster than a 4.5 by recognizing quicker and taking a better angle.

I think vision and reaction time are the most important difference makers for a RB - assuming they meet the baseline requirements for speed and strength.

Recognition and attitude are the difference makers for LB - again assuming base requirements for speed and strength. That's why I think the Smith kid from Georgia will be better than Edmonds.
Runners come in different types  
PatersonPlank : 3/10/2018 4:41 pm : link
Some are falt out speed guys like Chris Johnson (great 40 time too), and some are the real shifty, quick, bursty guys like Emmit Smith. These guys have slower 40 times but do better on the 3 cone shuttle drill. On Moving the Chains (siriusXM) one of the ex GM's on the show said that coaches and scouts use the times to see what type of runner the back is. They subtract .5 off the 40 time and assume he should run that in the shuttle. So if a guy runs a 5.0 then they expect him to run a 4.5 flat shuttle. If he comes at a 4.2 for example, they know this guy is the shifty type. Closer to a 5.0 and they know he is just a flat line speed guy.

IMO, I like the bursty quick guys better. I think they make better backs, its not very often they get in a 40 yd footrace.
Some very good observations on this thread -  
Ira : 3/10/2018 4:46 pm : link
especially those about linebacker. I agree that Smith will be a better pro than Edmunds. Another point - burst is more important than speed for a running back. Barkley is a very fast running back, but his ability to suddenly change direction and accelerate quickly is more important than his straight line speed.
RE: Runners come in different types  
Reale01 : 3/10/2018 4:46 pm : link
In comment 13857957 PatersonPlank said:
Quote:
Some are falt out speed guys like Chris Johnson (great 40 time too), and some are the real shifty, quick, bursty guys like Emmit Smith. These guys have slower 40 times but do better on the 3 cone shuttle drill. On Moving the Chains (siriusXM) one of the ex GM's on the show said that coaches and scouts use the times to see what type of runner the back is. They subtract .5 off the 40 time and assume he should run that in the shuttle. So if a guy runs a 5.0 then they expect him to run a 4.5 flat shuttle. If he comes at a 4.2 for example, they know this guy is the shifty type. Closer to a 5.0 and they know he is just a flat line speed guy.

IMO, I like the bursty quick guys better. I think they make better backs, its not very often they get in a 40 yd footrace.


Well put. Also someone who is 4.4 will take more than 30 yards to catch a 4.6 if they have as little as a one step start
The 40 isn't the only "Tome" at trhe combine  
Rafflee : 3/10/2018 9:05 pm : link
They do several tests that inbclude agilty/speed combinations. The Track Runners and guys who specifically train for the Sprints do better, but the scouts and GM's get more detailed than just the 40 yard trime.

Kamara ran a "decent" 4.56, but he's a Blur with the Ball.... I believe Jerry Rice Plodded his way to a 4.65, but ran away from defenders EVERY TIME!!!
It's interesting to note that the fastest RB at the Combine,  
TC : 3/10/2018 11:44 pm : link
Hines, ran a 4.38 40 also IS a sprinter on his school's track team. And as has been pointed out that specific training obviously aids in Combine performance.

And I also agree that vision and other factors play an equal role in playing speed. For example the RB, Chunn, from Troy I've been watching is fairly slow footed, and only ran a 4.62 at his pro day yesterday, but is still effective. And in studying his play you see that he makes his reads quickly, is very decisive and has no wasted motion.
What??  
FatMan in Charlotte : 3/10/2018 11:59 pm : link
Quote:
Someone recently suggested that Combine results tell us all we need to know about how a player will perform in the NFL, when actually, they are often misleading


That isn't a common perception. The scouts use the combine more to exclude certain players or to decide how to rank players they've been on the fence about. They use it as a way to supplement information.

Anyone who says the combine results say everything is either a moron or a fictitious entity created to try and add context to a shitty premise.
RE: What??  
TC : 3/11/2018 12:54 am : link
In comment 13858339 FatMan in Charlotte said:
Quote:


Quote:


Someone recently suggested that Combine results tell us all we need to know about how a player will perform in the NFL, when actually, they are often misleading



That isn't a common perception. The scouts use the combine more to exclude certain players or to decide how to rank players they've been on the fence about. They use it as a way to supplement information.

Anyone who says the combine results say everything is either a moron or a fictitious entity created to try and add context to a shitty premise.

Not fictitious at all, as it was stated by another poster regarding a prospect under discussion. I really have no interest in trying to impress anyone, least of all you. But while I have your attention, to precisely what shitty premise are you referring if you can climb down from your shitty snark long enough to respond?
It's a Beauty Contest...but it's not  
Rafflee : 3/11/2018 9:07 am : link
It should provide "explanation" for Production...and an ability to find the most talented guys who've already establioshed themselves as good football players with skills for their respective positions.

You watch a Pitcher?.... some people exclusively watch Radar Gun Reading. So, tell me....one guy is throwing 96 and the hitters are very comfortable, and they are raking. The other guy is throwing 95, and every hitter looks uncomfortable---no good swings...bad contact.

The Bench Press??? It's probably more an indication of work ethic than playing strength---does the guy work out? Will he rehab from Injury?

The 40? It will make a few guys Pop---it may eliminate or hurt a couple. Mostly it explains the Long Runs...or the Lack of Long Runs.

Most fans are thinking 40,40,40,40,40.... Foot ball scouts are following more than the 40---Combine Fans are following almost nothing else.
The premise..  
FatMan in Charlotte : 3/11/2018 9:08 am : link
that the Combine is the end all be all of evaluation.

Scouts and personnel people are well aware of playing speed vs timed speed and they use it as context to the evaluation.

Don't know what you're arguing against. Hell, you even used an example of a player who was dinged at the combine to try and make a point.

You can call it snark if you'd like, but you basically just foisted on the board a thread that isn't arguing an actual point.
Yeah I donít know who uses the combine  
UConn4523 : 3/11/2018 9:17 am : link
as the only evalutation tool. Maybe itís fans who treat it as gospel but GMs and scouts work year round on this stuff, hey donít just do 1 week of work.

Strange thread.
RE: Yeah I donít know who uses the combine  
Coach Red Beaulieu : 3/11/2018 9:22 am : link
In comment 13858417 UConn4523 said:
Quote:
as the only evalutation tool. Maybe itís fans who treat it as gospel but GMs and scouts work year round on this stuff, hey donít just do 1 week of work.

Strange thread.


AL Davis and Jerry Reese?

Football speed is different than 40 speed. Victor Cruz didn't have a blazing fast 40, but you never saw anyone catch him from behind on long TD runs before he got injured.
No idea why you are telling me that  
UConn4523 : 3/11/2018 9:36 am : link
Iím not arguing against it. The thread is suggesting that many folks in football treat the combine as gospel and that really isnít the case. I think anyone with common sense knows that speed in shorts is far different than speed with pads.
Nobody serious  
LauderdaleMatty : 3/11/2018 10:22 am : link
Thinks the combine is he be all end all.

They scouts are trying to confirm what the game tape shows so they can slot guys. Ifntwo guys have an equal grade a better combine for one whoíll most likely push that guy higher on the board.

I assume thatís what poster of the original thought brought up in the OP was getting at.

Also as we know some GMs will slot great athletes higher than they should. And when they hit idiots will let things like in Reese We Trust. GM is a hard job. And scouting players isnít a science. The over reliance on trumped up stats prevades our whole thought proves these days. The combine is great source of data but the trick is how to interpret it and not over rely on it.

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