December 9, 2022
Ithaca, NY | 33°F


How overrated the 40-yard dash really is


I wonder what it must be like to be Mel Kiper Jr. Here’s a guy who spends his entire life analyzing and picking apart the futures of people my age. Has to be a tough, tough job/life. Impossible even. It’s a guessing game. He spends his life watching and listening and then guessing the prospects of kids who barely can walk up to a bar and order a beer. I guess someone has to do it. Makes me wonder what Mel would say about me if he were a sports journalism expert. “Types like a 5th grader with blinders on, is not funny, no’s little too nothing a bout grammer, over-consumes Swedish Fish”  — I’d go undrafted.

But here’s what he shouldn’t be saying, “Well, with that 40 time, Jimmy John has really dropped himself out of the first round.”

How can a guy who has proven himself over four years of football magically disappear because he ran “slowly” over 40 yards? (“Slowly” because the NFL’s definition of “slow” is faster than you running on one of those airport treadmills)

You’re muttering at your computer screen, “This kid is an idiot. It measures speed. Speed kills. Duh. I could write this blog better than that ignoramus.” You most likely could, but you’re wrong. The only time anyone is ever going to have to run 40 straight yards from standstill is a wideout running a Go Route or a gunner on special teams. I don’t hate the test for corners and wide receivers. But weigh it as much as the other tests.

If I’m coaching, I want the linebacker who has the fastest first five yards to fill a hole; the corner who has the quickest feet; the running back with vision. I don’t want a sprinter in football pads, I want a football player.