Draft Blog: Combine Edition, What’s Most Important


Who Will Win The Track Meet?

The 40-yard dash is definitely the most overrated drill at the combine. The three-cone drill, short shuttle, broad jump and vertical leap do a much better job of showing how a player performs football movements. Nevertheless, the 40-yard dash is the most talked about event at the NFL Scouting Combine.

The biggest talking point is in regards to who will record the fastest time at in Indianapolis. The all-time record is 4.24 seconds, which was recorded by Chris Johnson. This year there are a few names who will be vying for the title of the fastest man in the draft.

The odds on favorite is TCU’s Kolby Listenbee. The wide receiver ran a wind-aided 10.03 100-meter dash, which is a world-class number. In regards to who is the fastest player over 100 meters, Listenbee is easily the top guy. However, Listenbee doesn’t have the best get off, which is the most important part of the 40-yard dash.

If Listenbee doesn’t run the fastest time, Notre Dame’s Will Fuller, Ohio State’s Braxton Miller, Florida State’s Jalen Ramsey and San Diego State’s Tyler Ervin have the best shot. Fuller is a blazing fast wide receiver who makes fast players look slow on the football field. If he gets a good jump, he has a great chance to take home the crown. Miller may be the most athletic player at the combine, but he will have to run faster than he ever has to have a shot at Lucas Oil Stadium. Ramsey, in the same vein as Miller, is an extremely athletic player, but he may not have enough juice to best Listenbee. Ervin has stated that his goal is to run in the 4.2’s, but whether he can actually do it remains to be seen.

Players Who Need To Impress In The Interviews

Connor Cook, QB, Michigan State

There has been a lot of talk about Connor Cook and many have questioned his ability to lead a football team. He wasn’t voted a team captain prior to the season and there have been rumblings that his teammates don’t like. Also, the fact that he skipped the Senior Bowl hasn’t helped his character and leadership concerns.

Cook is going to have to answer a lot of questions about his ability to lead and his social skills with teammates. If he answers all the questions adequately, he could go as high as the first round. If he doesn’t, there is not telling how far he could fall in the draft.

Noah Spence, Edge-Rusher, Eastern Kentucky

Noah Spence may be the most talented player in this draft. He has the size, speed and integrated technique to be a superstar in the NFL; however, he has a lot of questions to answer about his off-field concerns. He was dismissed from Ohio State for repeatedly testing positive for ecstasy. With the problems of players like Josh Gordon and Randy Gregory, the NFL will likely be wary of players with past drug issues.

To Spence’s credit, he has passed every drug test since getting dismissed and he even told the Eastern Kentucky coaching staff to test him as much as they want. Spence looks to have bounced back from his troubling time, but he will have to convey that to the NFL in an appropriate matter, which could cause him to become a top-10 pick.

The Combine Is The Most Important For The Edge Rushers

Playing on the edge is the most athletically challenging position in the NFL. The NFL Scouting Combine does a great job of specifically testing aspects that correlate to what edge rushers do on the field. Bleacher Report has come up with a formula that predicts, which edge rushers have the best chance to become stars in the NFL will impressive foresight and accuracy.

The 10-yard dash, three-cone drill, vertical and broad jumps are extremely applicable for the edge rushers in the NFL. The 10-yard dash replicates an edge rusher’s jump off the ball. The three-cone drill emulates their ability to bend and flatten to the quarterback on a speed rush. The broad and vertical jumps showcase how much explosion they have which shows how powerful they are.

Overall, you don’t have to pay much attention to many of the positions at the combine, but when the defensive ends and outside linebackers are on the field the importance of their times and measurements cannot be overstated.

About John Owning

John Owning

John Owning is a NFL columnist for Football Insiders. He has years of experience covering the NFL, NFL draft and NCAA football. John's work has been featured on the Bleacher Report and