When the Seattle Seahawks drafted Shaquem Griffin Saturday in the fifth round of the NFL Draft, fans exploded with happiness for him and the talents he brings to the table as a linebacker. In particular, fans loved the 4.38 forty time he posted at the NFL Combine, after initially not even being a combine invitee. However, reports have emerged that his time was inaccurate, and it doesn’t take much research to find that these reports are accurate.
Exploring whether an inaccurate 40 time at the Combine led to Shaquem Griffin's draft slide: https://t.co/xQneQLas8W— Bob Condotta (@bcondotta) April 30, 2018
For those who are out of free Seattle Times articles this month, in short, Shaquem ran the 40 twice, and recorded times of 4.38 the first time and 4.58 the second time. The NFL uses only the faster time as the official result, so that’s how Griffin ended up with an official time of 4.38. The article states that the timer started late on Griffin’s attempt that was timed at 4.38, and that should be something that is easy to verify.
So, let’s turn to the video of his 4.38 40 to get to the bottom of this. Here’s the video for those who haven’t seen it.
It’s real easy using YouTube to take a frame-by-frame look at how quickly he got out of the gates, and that instantly shows the issue. With YouTube, it is possible to pause the video and to then go forward a frame at a time by using the period key. Doing so, it is possible to generate the following screenshot.
In that grab we see that the timer is still on zero, but Shaquem is well out of the blocks. How much time was lost by the timekeeper by starting the clock late? That is a rather simple math problem to address. That grab is the tenth frame in which Griffin is moving, and in the eleventh frame is when the clock moves off of 0.00 to 0.01. By looking frame by frame at the interval between known timing points, the linked video has a frame rate of 30 frames per second, so with ten frames of lost timing that is more than three tenths of a second that were shaved off his time. That means his time should have been closer to 4.7 than the 4.38 that was recorded.
His second attempt was faster, timed at 4.58, which would have been his official time, so it’s not as if he clocked in as slow. Even at 4.58 he would have been in a tie with Matthew Thomas of Florida State as the fifth fastest linebacker in the draft, so it’s not as if the Seahawks drafted a lead-footed dud. For reference, K.J. Wright, who he’ll be backing up at weakside linebacker initially, ran a 4.75 at the combine and a 4.71 at his pro day, so even adding three tenths of a second to Shaquem’s time gives him a faster time than Wright.
Griffin’s speed and acceleration show up on game tape, so I’m not concerned at all with whether he will be fast enough to play in the NFL. This is just another reminder that as fans we don’t have all the information, and that NFL teams were reportedly aware of the timing issue heading into the draft.