40-time speed: Overrated?

Speed it great, but not all that.

I’ve been watching the NFL Combine for the past five seasons because of my coverage of the 49ers .This is the first time that I am not paying attention to it. In fact, I haven’t watched any of it, only some interviews.

But one thing that I have noticed over the years is the constant talks about the 40-yard dash speed. It’s great to have speed and we have seen really speedy players turn out to be pretty good players in the NFL (e.g. Chris Johnson). All the constant talks seems to override a lot of other intangibles.

Obviously the fastest speed doesn’t translate into instant success in the NFL. There are so many other factors that need to work. For a receiver, they need to have great hands and great moves off the line. A quarterback still needs to be a great thrower. A safety needs great sideline to sideline coverage.

I wouldn’t really say that the 40-time is overrated. But with the constant effort to break down the speed, it seems that it’s the only thing that matters.

Maybe I am just looking too much into this. I know general managers and coaches are looking into many other aspects of the combine. There’s more to a player than speed.

Even the best players in NFL history don’t have great speed. Sometimes it’s the other skills that get them to the top. Or sometimes it’s the heart and determination — both which you can’t measure.


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