The fastest 40-yard dash time at the Combine was 4.32 this year. The fastest time in the 40-yard dash by a cornerback was 4.32 this year. Ohio State’s Denzel Ward ran a 4.32 this year. Remarkably, he tied with two other cornerback prospects, including LSU’s Donte Jackson and Tulane’s Perry Nickerson who are known for their speed. It’s worth noting that Ward weighs in at 191 pounds, where his two counterparts weigh in at 175 and 180. Ward revealed that he had tweaked his ankle prior to the Combine, so he didn’t participate in any of the positional drills. That made the following even more impressive: he recorded the longest broad jump of the entire Combine. Yeah, with a tweaked ankle, Ward leaped 11’4” and added a vertical of 39”, just for good measure. And get this: Ward tied a fundraiser for a scholarship fund that is in his late father’s name to his vertical jump result and ended up raising more than $6,000. How’s that for an intangible?
2. Football (and speed) is in the Edmunds’ brothers’ blood.
Earlier in the week Rich Eisen said he asked 20-year-old Terrell Edmunds what he thought his 19-year-old brother Tremaine’s 40-yard dash time would be. Terrell said the two would combine for nine seconds. The actual result? Tremaine ran a 4.54. Terrell ran a 4.48. Their combined total was 9.03. Pretty darn close. They come from quite the pedigree. Their father, Ferrell, played seven NFL seasons as a 6-foot-6 tight end. It’s safe to say these two have been groomed for the league.
3. Safety standouts confirm the hype.
For Combine purposes, Alabama defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick, who could feasibly play any of the six positions in the secondary, was labeled a safety. He lived up to all the tout and hype, running a 4.47 40-yard dash – one of the top times for safeties, and among all defensive backs for that matter. Derwin James out of Florida State was right there with him, running a 4.48 40-yard dash. Oh, and James also managed 21 reps on the bench press. Each of these players has been thoroughly studied and evaluated through their college film and they simply did everything right on Monday in Indianapolis to confirm why they will be two of the first defensive backs off the board come end of April.
4. Safeties have only gotten faster.
A popular topic of discussion was how fast the safety group ran in the 40-yard dash. The fastest safety was Troy Apke out of Penn State with a 4.35 40-yard dash. Penn State as a school has been represented well so far in this Combine by more than just running back Saquon Barkley. Apke was the only safety under 4.4, but there were eight safeties that clocked in at under 4.5 –which is considered a decent time for that position. Overall, the top 15 safeties averaged a 4.49. For reference, the average of the cornerback position group, which is regarded as perhaps the fastest group overall in the Combine, was 4.41 this year. Analysts attributed this to the way the game is going and how much more the safety position is asked to do against today’s offenses.
5. Run Rich Run.
As the Combine came to a close, there was one important prospect left to test: NFL Network’s Rich Eisen who once again participated in the Run, Rich, Run fundraiser for St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. The 58-year-old Eisen strapped on custom cleats and was clocked at 5.97 in the 40-yard dash – an improvement over last year’s 6.01 and just behind his 2016-best of 5.94. It was last announced that the amount raised for St. Jude’s was over $600,000 from the Run, Rich, Run event, which is absolutely incredible. And hey, charity aside – I am all for Average Joe competing alongside athletes in things like this. NFL Network of course had a little fun in simulcasting Rich alongside the likes of Minkah Fitzpatrick, Derwin James, Shaquem Griffin and even Vita Vea and Orlando Brown. Needless to say, Rich did not beat any of them. But it shows just what incredible athletes even the 300+ pounders are and benefits a good cause all at the same time.