Friday, March 6, 2009

Combine: The Need For Speed

The 2009 NFL Scouting Combine came and went with seemingly less hype than previous editions. Was it due to the fact that we didn’t have a player participate that was seen as “the next big thing” in the NFL? Maybe, but despite the lack of a potential mega-combine-star, there were still several things we learned from this year's combine.

The first thing we learned is that this year's draft class contains running backs that are not extremely fast. Cedric Peerman from Virginia ran the fastest 40 time at 4.45, and only four running backs cracked the 4.5 mark. Last year we saw 13 running backs break the 4.5 mark, with the group having an average 40 yard time of 4.51. This year's running back class had an average time of 4.58. This pretty big drop in averages over a one-year period, one which we don't typically see.

Staying with the theme of speed, the next thing we learned is that the 2009 wide receiver class is fast. Darrius Heyward-Bey from Maryland ran the fastest 40 time at 4.3, and 13 players ran 4.45 or better. Last year's class only had 11 players break that mark, the fastest being the 4.35 by Cal’s DeSean Jackson. The 2009 combine saw an average 40 time of 4.49 compared to the 4.52 average time posted by the 2008 class. This is more of an average variation we are used to seeing, unlike that of the 2008 and 2009 running back classes.

Another combine is in the books and—as always—the things we've learned will be reflected in this year's draft. Speed was found, but not in the place many were expecting it to be. The only thing left to do now is see whose stock rose, whose fell, and whose stayed the same; only the 2009 NFL draft has the answer.