Anyone who follows football knows the most important part of the NFL combine for wide receivers is the 40-yard dash. That drill, more than any other, often determines the order in which receivers are taken in the April draft.
“For the wide receivers, these 40s are very important,” former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver and NFL Network analyst Michael Irvin said. “They’re indications of top-end speed and how quickly you can get to top-end speed.”
Sunday, in Indianapolis, former Kansas University receivers Dezmon Briscoe and Kerry Meier ran decent but not dazzling times during their workout at the combine in front of scouts, coaches and doctors from all 32 NFL teams.
Meier, whose full beard and flowing hair became the focal point of a few jokes from the NFL Network crew, ran the drill in 4.62 seconds on his first try and 4.63 on his second. Although his speed did not blow anyone away, Meier drew praise for his all-around abilities.
“He’s 224 pounds, he’s a possession guy, catches everything and, because he was a quarterback, he understands defenses, he understands where he needs to be, and he puts that big body between the linebackers and the football,” NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said. “He could make a living somewhere.”
Briscoe, who spent the days leading up to the combine working out with former Olympic sprinter Michael Johnson, ran an initial time of 4.59 and followed that up with a 4.60 in his second attempt. The times didn’t surprise anyone, but Briscoe’s bench press — nine reps at 225 pounds — drew the ire of the analysts.
“To be honest, I think this has been a tough day for him,” Mayock said. “I like him on tape. I like him on tape. I’m just saying, red flags.”
Meier recorded 13 reps of the 225-pound bench press.
Sunday’s fastest 40 came from Clemson wide receiver Jacoby Ford, who ran a 4.28. Kansas State wide receiver Brandon Banks ran a 4.43, and Texas star Jordan Shipley ran a 4.57.
Analysts were quick to point out that the results of the 40-yard dash only are a small portion of what the scouts are watching.
“The 4.22, the 4.25, that doesn’t necessarily translate to functional football speed,” Mayock said.
According to Mile High Report, a site that covers the Denver Broncos, the average 40 time for wide receivers during the past nine NFL combines was 4.55 seconds. Heading into the combine, ESPN.com’s Todd McShay had Briscoe rated as the fourth-best receiver available in this year’s draft. McShay had Meier rated 34th.
The combine continues today, when linebackers and defensive linemen take their turn. Kansas safety Darrell Stuckey will get his shot Tuesday, when the defensive backs compete on the last day of this year’s event. Stuckey will wear bib number DB46 and will work in group No. 11.