By Ryan Mayer
The NFL combine starts Wednesday for the participants as they will show up in Indianapolis to be measured, poked and prodded by medical personnel. The actual on field drills will start Friday and the annual “Underwear Olympics” will be all that’s talked about in NFL circles. CBSSports.com’s Dane Brugler did a comprehensive write-up for what knowledge can be gained from each drill.
Let’s take a look at the top performances overall in each drill in combine history.
40-yard dash: Chris Johnson RB East Carolina 2008 – Johnson wowed scouts with his 40 time officially clocked at 4.24 seconds. Others have come close, but none have officially beaten CJ2K’s time. Johnson has rushed for over 8,500 yards and 51 TD’s in his career (including over 2,000 yards from his 2nd season in 2009). He was recently released by the Jets after one season and will be a free agent.
Bench Press: Stephen Paea DT Oregon State 2011 – The defensive tackle from Oregon State put up 225 pounds a record 49 times back in 2011 – which led to him being drafted in the 2nd round by the Bears (53rd overall). Paea just wrapped up the best year of his four-year career starting all 16 games for the Bears and recording 24 solo tackles, 6 sacks, and 2 forced fumbles. He will enter contract negotiations with the Bears this offseason.
Vertical jump: Donald Washington CB Ohio State 2009 – Washington recorded a 45-inch vertical jump back in 2009 and was drafted in the 4th round (102nd overall) by the Kansas City Chiefs. His NFL career ended after just three seasons in 2011. In 32 games, Washington started 5 with 18 solo tackles. He played in the CFL with the Toronto Argonauts last season.
Broad Jump: Jamie Collins LB/DE Southern Miss 2013 – Yes, that Jamie Collins. The Super Bowl winning ILB for the Patriots stunned scouts with his athleticism by recording an 11-foot 7-inch broad jump. The Patriots jumped at the chance to get him later in the 2nd round (52nd overall). He’s blossomed into an up-and-coming star and had 91 solo tackles, 4 sacks, 2 INT’s, 4 forced fumbles and 3 fumble recoveries this season. He enters year number three of his rookie deal this upcoming season.
3-cone drill: Jeff Maehl WR Oregon 2011 – The speedy slot receiver from Oregon finished the drill in 6.42 seconds. That performance, along with his other measurables, wasn’t enough to get him drafted and he signed with the Houston Texans as an undrafted free agent before the 2011 season. He finished last year with the Philadelphia Eagles and in his career has played in 27 games catching 9 balls for 113 yards and 1 TD.
20-yard shuttle: Jason Allen DB Tennessee 2006 – Allen blazed to a time of 3.81 seconds in the 20-yard shuttle and was drafted by the Dolphins in the 1st round at number 16 overall. He played seven seasons in the league after wrapping his 2012 season for a total of 98 games (starting 23), 213 tackles and 15 INT’s. Allen hasn’t played the last 2 seasons.
60-yard shuttle run: Brandin Cooks WR Oregon State 2014 – Cooks was a highly anticipated player to watch entering last year’s combine. He didn’t disappoint. Cooks broke the combine record in this particular drill at 10.72 seconds and the New Orleans Saints moved up to number 20 in the 1st round of the draft to take Cooks. He rewarded their aggressiveness playing in 10 games and catching 53 balls for 553 yards and 3 TD’s.
As Brugler said in his piece for CBSSports.com, the combine is a part of an overall puzzle for each player and as you can see, even record setting performances aren’t always indicative of future success. So enjoy the coverage this week, but don’t overreact too much if a player shows well or poorly at the combine.