The value of a player’s 40 yard dash time is ridiculously overrated.  But it’s still one of the first things people talk about when bringing up a football prospect. For this reason, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at the prospects with the fastest NFL Combine 40 times, and see where they were drafted… You know, to see what kind of impact a fast 40 makes on your draft stock.

Below are the prospects with the fastest NFL combine 40 times for 2011, along with their school, position, and when they were drafted.


Rank Name
School Position 40 time Drafted (Rd-Overall)
1st Demarcus Van Dyke Miami (FL) DB 4.28 3-81
t-2nd Patrick Peterson LSU DB 4.34 1-5
t-2nd Da’Rel Scott Maryland RB 4.34 7-221
t-3rd Edmond Gates Abilene Christian WR 4.37 4-111
t-3rd Ricardo Lockette Fort Valley St. WR 4.37 Undrafted
4th Mario Fannin Auburn RB 4.38 Undrafted
5th Julio Jones Alabama WR 4.39 1-6
t-6th Chimdi Chekwa Ohio St. DB 4.40 4-113
t-6th Chris Culliver South Carolina DB 4.40 3-80
t-6th Derrick Locke Kentucky DB 4.40 Undrafted
t-6th Jordan Todman Connecticut RB 4.40 6-183
7th DeMarco Murray Oklahoma RB 4.41 3-71
8th Roy Helu Nebraska RB 4.42 4-105
t-9th Prince Amukamara Nebraska CB 4.43 1-19
t-9th Leonard Hankerson Miami (FL) WR 4.43 3-79


What can we conclude from the chart above?  Hell if I know.  I just thought it would be cool to analyze.  From our time together discussing what NFL Scouts look for in running backs, it should be obvious that there’s more to getting drafted than just the 40 time alone.

Julio Jones ran a 4.39 at the 2011 NFL Combine and was selected 6th-overall by the Atlanta Falcons. (ICON Sports)

From watching drafts for years now, I believe that, especially for running backs, wide receivers, and defensive backs, a fast 40 time will boost your stock if you’re a lower-level prospect, and validate your stock, if you’re a high-

rated prospect.

Depending on who you spoke to, Julio Jones (Alabama) was already the #1 or #2 receiver in the nation going into the NFL combine.  His 4.39 40 helped solidify and justify his high rating going into the draft, so he was drafted sixth overall.

Da’Rel Scott (Maryland), on the other hand, was projected to be a Priority Free Agent until he ran his 4.34…  and you’d be a fool to think that the 4.34 didn’t have anything to do with him getting drafted in the seventh round.

And I’m sure Jake Locker’s 4.59 had at least a little to do with him getting drafted 8th overall by the Titans.

I think the debate over the proper value we should put on the 40 will never end.  Nevertheless, without question it’s valuable to NFL personnel, and if it’s valuable to them, it better be valuable to the rest of us.

Do you think the 40 yard dash is overrated?

Follow me on Twitter! @alvingrier

Watch Demarcus Van Dyke (DB, Miami (FL) run a blazing 4.28 40 at the 2011 NFL Combine:

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