The Thinking Man’s Guide to 40 Times at the 2014 NFL Combine

Image via WWarby/Flickr

If you like the suspense of actually watching the NFL Combine, this article is for you.  .  If you’d rather just look at everyone’s results after they’re done running, this article is also for you.  Everyone on board with their hands inside the vehicle?  Okay, let’s ride.

Now that we have results from the weigh-ins at the NFL Combine, we can use that data to create an expectation for what a player’s 40 time should be.  To do this, I am using the Speed Score formula and Height Adjusted Speed Score formula.  There are many articles out there that explain Speed Score in more detail.  For now, I just need you to know that it is a measure of how fast a player is relative to their weight.  Okay, fine, here’s the formula:

(Weight*200) / (40time^4)

For a running back, a Speed Score of 100 is considered a threshold for NFL viability.  Anything in the 110+ range is considered star-caliber.  These are NOT absolutes, but are general guidelines for drawing size/speed conclusions. Again, the important thing here is that we know what all the players weigh, so we can run hypotheticals by setting the above equation equal to 100 and/or 110 and seeing what 40 times a player would have to run to achieve that Speed Score.

You with me?

Here are what the Running Back times need to look like to achieve “solid” prospect (100 speed score) or “star-caliber” prospect metrics (110+ speed score). Have this article open while you watch and you can play Simon Cowell, immediately bashing/praising the players as they finish their runs.  Have fun calling out “Damn that guy is fast” or “How are you such a slow poke?” as you nurse a hangover and eat donuts on Sunday morning.

NumberNameCollegeWeightSolidStar-Caliber
RB01Andrews, AntonioWestern Kentucky2254.614.50
RB02Archer, DriKent State1734.314.21
RB03Atkinson, GeorgeNotre Dame2184.574.46
RB05Blue, AlfredLSU2234.604.49
RB06Carey, Ka'DeemArizona2074.514.40
RB07Copeland, J.C.LSU2714.834.71
RB08Cornett, TimUNLV2094.524.42
RB09Crowell, IsaiahAlabama State2244.604.49
RB10Flanders, TimSam Houston State2074.514.40
RB11Fluellen, DavidToledo2244.604.49
RB12Freeman, DevotaFlorida State2064.514.40
RB13Gaffney, TylerStanford2204.584.47
RB14Grice, MarionArizona State2084.524.41
RB15Hewitt, RyanStanford2464.714.60
RB16Hill, JeremyLSU2334.654.54
RB17Hyde, CarlosOhio State2304.634.52
RB18Johnson, StormCentral Florida2094.524.42
RB19Josey, HenryMissouri1944.444.33
RB20Mason, TreAuburn2074.514.40
RB21McKinnon, JerickGeorgia Southern2094.524.42
RB22Millard, TreyOklahoma2474.714.60
RB23Muema, AdamSan Diego State2024.484.38
RB25Redd, SilasUSC2124.544.43
RB26Sankey, BishopWashington2094.524.42
RB27Seastrunk, LacheBaylor2014.484.37
RB28Sims, CharlesWest Virginia2144.554.44
RB29Smith, JeromeSyracuse2204.584.47
RB30Taliaferro, LorenzoCoastal Carolina2294.634.52
RB31Thomas, De'AnthonyOregon1744.324.22
RB32West, TerranceTowson2254.614.50
RB33White, JamesWisconsin2044.494.39
RB34Wilder, JamesFlorida State2324.644.53
RB35Williams, AndreBoston College2304.634.52
RB36Williams, DamianOklahoma2224.594.48

For wide receivers the equation is a little different.  We want big and fast.  We use Height-Adjusted Speed Score which is exactly what it sounds like.  Note that this formula is primarily useful for finding #1 type receivers.  But then again, are any of us laying awake at night thinking “if only I could find that diamond in the rough slot-receiver?”  If you’re reading this site, you’re probably looking for the WR1 type studs.  In this case HaSS100 is solid and HaSS110 or better is star-caliber.

#NameCollegeHtWeightHass100Hass110
WO01Abbrederis, JaredWisconsin731954.434.33
WO03Beckham, OdellLSU711984.404.30
WO04Benjamin, KelvinFlorida State772404.764.65
WO05Boyd, ChrisVanderbilt762064.564.45
WO06Brown, CoreyOhio State711784.294.19
WO07Brown, JohnPittsburg State (KS)701794.274.17
WO08Bryant, MartavisClemson762114.594.48
WO09Burse, IsaiahFresno State701884.334.22
WO10Campanaro, MichaelWake Forest691924.334.22
WO11Coleman, BrandonRutgers782254.714.60
WO12Colter, KainNorthwestern701984.384.28
WO13Cooks, BrandinOregon State701894.334.23
WO14Copeland, DamianLouisville711844.324.22
WO15Davis, MikeTexas721974.424.32
WO16Ellington, BruceSouth Carolina691974.354.25
WO18Evans, MikeTexas A&M772314.714.60
WO19Evans, ShaqUCLA732134.534.42
WO20Fowler, BennieMichigan State732174.554.45
WO21Franklin, AustinNew Mexico State711894.354.25
WO22Gallon, JeremyMichigan671854.244.14
WO23Grant, RyanTulane721994.434.33
WO24Hazel, MattCoastal Carolina731984.454.34
WO25Herron, RobertWyoming691934.334.23
WO26Hoffman, CodyBYU762234.654.54
WO27Huff, JoshOregon712064.454.34
WO28Hurns, AllenMiami(FL)731984.454.34
WO29Janis, JeffSaginaw Valley State752194.614.50
WO30Jones, T.J.Notre Dame721884.374.27
WO31Landry, JarvisLSU712054.444.34
WO32Latimer, CodyIndiana742154.564.46
WO33Lee, MarqiseUSC721924.394.29
WO34Lucas, MarcusMissouri762184.624.52
WO35Matthews, JordanVanderbilt752124.574.46
WO36Moncrief, DonteOle Miss742214.604.49
WO37Norwood, KevinAlabama741984.474.37
WO38Powell, WaltMurray State711894.354.25
WO39Reese, TevinBaylor701634.174.07
WO41Robinson, AllanPenn State742204.594.48
WO42Saunders, JalenOklahoma691634.154.05
WO44Stewart, JoshOklahoma State701784.274.16
WO45Street, DevinPittsburgh751984.494.39
WO46Washington, L'DamianMissouri761954.504.39
WO47Watkins, SammyClemson732114.524.41
WO48Wilson, AlbertGeorgia State692024.384.28

Davis Mattek proposed that Mike Evans 40-time threshold was 4.55.  Through my eyes it looks like he has even more leeway than that.  In fact a 4.55 might make put him in the range of being the #1 overall pick in the next RotoViz Rookie Mock Draft.

Another piece of low hanging fruit is Kelvin Benjamin.  He almost certainly has to crack that 4.65 time, right?  He probably will and everyone will probably drool over him, but his age/breakout profile has me nervous.

People talk about Brandin Cooks being 4.3 fast.  He better be.  If you sort the list from fastest to slowest times, I don’t think anybody above him has much of a chance to be relevant.

That cluster near Sammy Watkins, Jordan Matthews, Cody Latimer, Chris Boyd and Donte Moncrief is going to be a ton of fun.  That’s where the real suspense lies, in my opinion.

Jon Moore is a coach at RotoAcademy and creator of The College Football Experiment.  Continue this conversation with him on Twitter or Google+.