When the NFL Combine really starts to get underway this weekend with tests and results, we'll have our eyes focused on two things: the eye-popping numbers and the players we think we want Seattle to draft. That's pretty much it. I mean, you might also be focused on players from your alma mater, or guys who share the same first name as you, but mostly we want to see how players like Robert Griffin III do and what records may be broken.
At the end of the day though, what does it matter? That's the real question we have to ask yourself.
Pop Quiz Hot Shot: You're on a bus. There's a Rondel Melendez on the bus. What do you do? Who is Rondel Melendez? What does he have in common with Chris Johnson?
For any list that tries to be as official as possible, Melendez was a WR from Eastern Kentucky that ran a 4.24 40-yard dash in 1999, which is tied with Johnson as the fastest 40-yard dash since '99. Most lists will only go back that far, it's as comfortable as they can get.
More unofficially, Bo Jackson ran a 4.12 in 1986. Unofficially, there have been 13 faster times clocked. You will never get hard evidence that any 40-yard time is real. Different people use different systems of measurement. Some use averages. Some use different stopwatches. Some might even use an hourglass. These are the days of the NFL Combine.
If it's called the Combine, then why don't they all just combine their results and give us an official time so there is no discrepancy? Either way, we'll never be able to confirm Jackson's 4.12 or Deion Sanders 4.21 or Joey Galloways 4.18. Those are left in the past with fuzzy television screens and football jerseys that go just below the nipples.
However, in more recent years, we can have a better idea of who did what and what it meant to Pete Carroll and John Schneider. I would say that results don't mean nothing and they don't mean anything at the same time. You can't just be fast. You can't just be strong. You have to possess other tangibles and intangibles. It didn't help Rondel Melendez have an NFL career (7th round pick of the Falcons, doesn't have a Wiki or Pro-Football-Reference page) but it did jump Chris Johnson's stock.
What I'm most interested in today is finding out how recent Seattle draft picks fared at the NFL Combine. What did it mean for them and what did it mean to our front office? A reminder of what happened in recent years will help us focus on this year. Let's start with 2011.
I start with Lockette because he's the only Seattle pick or UDFA signee in 2011 to finish near the top of any list. Lockette ran a 4.37 40, tied for fourth best at the Combine. (I also see it posted as 4.34 in some places. Unofficial, you see?) It sounds good, but to Lockette it was a disappointment. Before the event, the former track star told PFT that he was hoping to break the Combine record and has been clocked in the 4.2's.
Despite his disappointment, Lockette overcame his small school background (Fort Valley State) and lack of top-end statistics (23 catches for 262 yards as a senior) to make an NFL roster and impress some of us with his potential.
He measured 6'2", 211 lbs, and a broad jump of 10'7" (just outside the top 10) but his 3-Cone, 20-yard shuttle numbers fell short of being near the top of the lists. Still, if Lockette wasn't a track star, he wouldn't have been invited to the Combine. If he went their and ran a 4.40, he may not have been signed. As one of the fastest players in the NFL, he has a chance to stick around for awhile.
Or he'll be like a Melendez brother.
Measures 6'4", 321 lbs but we're looking for strength over anything else. Carpenter's 23 reps of 225 lbs fell well short of Oregon State DT Stephen Paea (2nd round pick by Bears) who benched it 49 times. That fell two short of the record set by Justin Ernest, 1999, another player that did not make it in the NFL. Ryan Bartholomew, a center from Syracuse, led OL with 34 reps.
After everything was measured, many people felt that Carpenter was a 2nd round pick at best, but Seattle took him 25th overall (as you may have overheard.)
34" Arms, 9.75" Hands, 5.28 40, 1.78 in the 10, did no other drills.
Measures 6'4", 319 lbs. Arm Length: 33". Hand Size: 9.5". Booger Appetite: Heavy.
Ran a 40 of 5.55, 30.5" Vert, 8'6" Broad, 4.53 in the shuttle and 7.79 in the 3-Cone.
He was one of the slowest lineman recorded in the 40 and fastest in the shuttle. His 3-Cone was average.
I'm having a hard time believing that Vert and Broad mean anything for lineman, but Moffitt's were good.
Moffitt also did 23 reps of 225. The strong guys are typically defensive tackles, but it still doesn't hurt to see your lineman be able to push weight. According to Steve Hutchinson's Combine profile, he did 31 reps, and measured 6'5", 315 lbs with a 5.15 40 time, which is very fast for a big guy.
At outside linebacker, I'd expect teams are looking for a combination of size, speed, and strength. KJ measured at 6'3", 246 lbs and ran a 4.75 40 (times ranging from 4.65 to 4.85) with 20 reps of 225 lbs. Von Miller, the top linebacker in the class, ran a 4.53 40 and did 21 reps. Justin Houston led OLB in reps with 30 and was a third round pick by Kansas City.
Compare that to the player he replaced and one of the best Combine athletes, Aaron Curry: 6'2", 254 lbs, 4.52 40 and 25 reps of 225 lbs. Curry was heavier than Wright at the time of his testing, but ran a significantly faster 40 time and with 5 more reps. That's part of what got people so excited about Curry on top of being rated as the best linebacker in the country, winning the Butkus Award at Wake Forest.
Wright posted one of the slowest times in the 20 yard shuttle (4.46) and was in the bottom third in the 60 yard shuttle and the 3-Cone drill.
He was not invited to the Combine like teammate A.J. Green was, but Durham had an impressive Pro Day. He ran a 40 time clocked in the range of 4.42-4.56 but one NFL scout said he ran a 4.36. Well, that would have been the best for any WR at the Combine.
He had a Broad Jump of 10'1" and Vert of 35" and 17 reps, all of which together made him a very good prospect in comparison with the receivers that did get an invite.
Measured 6'2", 195 lbs. Ran a 4.56 40, 16 reps, 38" Vert, 10'5" Broad, 4.33 in the 20 yard shuttle, 6.82 in the 3-Cone.
His 20 yard shuttle was the second-slowest among DBs, but he has hops almost as good as anyone else and his 38" was the same as top-rated CB Patrick Peterson as well as Prince Amukamara.
Sherman isn't fast like you'd expect from a DB, probably a big reason that the Hawks were able to get him in the fifth. Peterson ran a 4.34, which was 2nd to DeMarcus Van Dyke's 4.28. Van Dyke, to the surprise of no one, was picked by the Raiders.
An interesting thing about Amukamara, the 19th overall pick by the Giants, is that he has tiny hands and short arms. Sherman has adequate hands and a slightly above-average wingspan.
He was dinged for a lack of speed, but just had one of the best rookie seasons by a corner that I can remember.
Measured 5'11", 210 lbs. Ran a 4.56 40, 21 reps, 31" Vert, 9'8" Broad, 4.09 in the 20 yard shuttle, 6.90 in the 3-Cone.
As fast as Sherman, but LeGree is stronger and even though he is three inches shorter, weighed 15 additional pounds compared to Sherman. Of course, safeties have different expectation levels compared to corners, and that's why you see a beefier version of a man with LeGree, but ran an identical 40 time which probably impressed the Seahawks.
It was the 2nd fastest 40 time for free safeties behind Bears 3rd round pick Chris Conte.
Measured 6' 0", 202 lbs. Ran a 4.46 40, 24 reps, 33" Vert, 10'4" Broad and did not run the other drills.
By selecting the third DB in a row, the Seahawks made it easier for me to compare all three of them!
Maxwell was tied for 7th fastest among DBs with his 4.46 40, and on top of that was the strongest of any Seattle DB taken that year with a 202 lb frame and 24 reps of 225 lbs. That was tied for third most among DBs.
In many ways, Maxwell's measurables are nearly identical to Ravens 1st round pick Jimmy Smith out of Colorado: they both ran a 4.46. They both did 24 reps. However, Smith had a 3" higher Vert and is 2" taller than Maxwell. Byron has longer arms, but Smith has slightly bigger hands.
Many fans wanted Seattle to take Smith in the 1st, but perhaps they saw a similar player in the 6th. Of course, he's not the same prospect as Smith and that's why he was available in the 6th.
Pep Lazarius Levingston
Measured 6'3", 292 lbs. Ran a 4.99 40, no reps, 29.5" Vert, 8'8" Broad, 4.62 in the 20-yard shuttle, 7.29 in the 3-Cone.
His broad jump was not good. 11th overall pick J.J. Watt had a broad of 10 feet. His near-30" Vert was right in the middle of the pack.
The 4.99 40 was on the slower side, but not by much. Donte Moch of Nevada ran a 4.44 40 at 248 lbs and was a third round pick by the Bengals. Livingston's 33" arms rank in the middle of the pack and his hands were among the biggest for DEs.
J.J. Watt, a budding star in the league, was one of the best athletes at the Combine, and his stock went up. Livingston was just.. middle of the pack.
Did not get invited to the Combine. On his USC Pro Day, Smith did 28 reps, ran a reported 4.47 40. Reported 4.54 in the 20-yard shuttle and 7.08 in the 3-Cone with a 39" Vert and 10'05" Broad. 6'0", 226 lbs.
If accurate, Smith would have been the fastest player at the Combine for his group, just like Durham would have been for his group. If accurate. Not that I'm denying it, but without any official results inside or outside the Combine, we have to make our best guess. The fastest reported Combine time for LBs was Martez Wilson, a third round pick of the Saints, at 4.49. Von Miller was 2nd with a 4.53.
His 4.54 in the 20-yard shuttle would have been the 2nd slowest. His 28 reps would have been tied for fourth-best with Brian Rolle, a 6th round pick.
If Smith gets invited to the Combine last year and puts up these numbers, I suspect he goes higher in the draft. Being the fastest of anything never hurts.
Not invited to Combine. At his Stanford Pro Day, 5'9", 189 lbs. Ran a 4.47-4.49 in the 40, 37" Vert, 10'3" Broad, 4.26 in the shuttle, 6.65 in the 3-Cone and reportedly 6 reps of 225 lbs.
With those numbers, Baldwin would have been faster than first round picks Jonathan Baldwin and A.J. Green. Of course, Green is seven inches taller than D. Baldwin, much stronger, and (in my opinion) the best young WR in the NFL. Still, only a handful of WRs were fasted than 4.47.
Baldwin on Pro Day:
If he really did 6 reps of 225, Baldwin would have finished 2nd to last among WRs. His Vert would be in the upper-third and his Broad would rank somewhere in the middle. (Julio Jones ran a 4.39 and the best Broad of 11'3")
His shuttle speed would be considered slow but his 3-Cone would be fast.
If Baldwin goes to the Combine, I can't see any way in which he'd be undrafted when you consider his ability to catch a pass, his deceptive speed, and quick 3-Cone times. Even if he's doing less reps than me! (/writer pretends he can do one rep of 100 lbs.)
- Seattle isn't afraid of players that only had Pro Days and didn't get a Combine invite. They made Durham a 4th round pick, Smith a 6th round pick, and went hard after Baldwin in UDFA.
- They love speedy WRs. You've seen this trend before with 2nd round pick Golden Tate.
- They weren't afraid of the lack of speed of Sherman but then got a speedier and shorter corner in Maxwell in the next round. LeGree had some great measurables, but eventually got cut. :(
- Results from their top two picks didn't really seem to matter. Moffitt was slow. Carpenter was especially strong. But they went with on-field NCAA results ahead of any outstanding Combine numbers.
- Pep Levingston also didn't have any impressive Combine numbers, he just wasn't especially bad. Coming from a major U like LSU and performing well had to be the main factor.
- It seems as though when it comes to the positions where speed is a bigger factor (WR, CB), Seattle is interested. If they are looking at WRs this year, don't expect them to not be looking at speed. If they take a safety, they are probably looking for someone physical over someone fast. If they are looking at RB, I'd expect they do care about speed. If they get O-line depth, I expect they're looking for a player with good tape and interview and who doesn't give a shit if someone sees him eat a booger. At least, that's what 2011 says to me.
- Are you following me on Twitter or checked out KennethAuthor.com yet? It's a play on words, see?