There are quarterbacks, offensive linemen and even punters and kickers who record faster 40 times at the NFL Combine than Dolphins receiver Jarvis Landry’s 4.77 in 2014.
If that alone doesn’t tell you how deceiving 40 times (and other stats) at the Combine can be, consider that the best way to get a rise out of Landry is to bring up the 40.
“All that matters is you don’t get caught, no matter how fast you are,” Landry says.
He’s right. Still, I thought it’d be fun to look back at how some recent Dolphins draftees performed at the Combine, especially given the 20/20 hindsight we all love. Along the way, you’ll see how one Dolphins draft pick performed quite well in Indy but still fell to the Dolphins in what looks like a steal.
(All were first-round picks unless noted)
DB Jason Allen, Tennessee (16th overall): He showed tremendous agility at the Combine. On the field? Not so much. Allen outperformed all DBs with a 3.81 in the 20-yard shuttle and was among the leaders in the 60-yard shuttle and three-cone drills. He also posted a 4.39 in the 40.
OT Jake Long, Michigan (1st overall): We knew he was a strong guy, but did you know he won the OL bench competition with 37 reps? He also was third among linemen in the three-cone drill.
CB Vontae Davis, Illinois (25th overall): He became a Pro Bowl corner, only not for the Dolphins. They should have trusted their first impression. Davis was seventh among DBs in the 40, broad jump and three-cone drill. He also tied for fifth in the 20-yard shuttle.
QB Pat White, West Virginia (second round, 44th overall): White was a controversial reach strictly for the Wildcat. He bombed. The Dolphins clearly were blinded when White won the 40 competition among QBs with a 4.55. They should have been paying more attention to the scouting report, which included “adequate accuracy” (generous, to be sure) and “May not have a pro position” (dead on).
DT Ndamukong Suh, Nebraska (2nd overall by Detroit Lions): Records show Suh only doing the bench, where he tied for sixth with 32 reps. Interesting to note the scouting report following the Combine: “Suh is often unblockable for one offensive lineman and draws many double teams from opposing offenses.” Much less accurate: “Durability is one area of concern.” Suh has missed two games in seven seasons despite routinely posting high snap counts.
C Mike Pouncey, Florida (15th overall): Supporting the notion that these drills are nothing more than food for thought, Pouncey’s workout stats don’t stand out in any category, starting with a 5.28 in the 40. Yet the scouting report reads as it should for a three-time Pro Bowl player: “Pouncey is arguably this class’ top interior offensive line prospect.”
This was the year Dolphins scouts must have been glued to the 40. Among the swiftest: Lamar Miller (fourth-round pick), who led RBs with a 4.40, plus two who spent time in Dolphins camp: LaMichael James (4.45) and Isaiah Pead (4.47).
DE Dion Jordan, Oregon (3rd overall): Showed more while running around cones than he did vs. offensive linemen. Jordan ranked among the DL leaders in the 40 (tied for third, 4.60), plus the broad jump, three-cone drill and 20-yard shuttle.
WR Jarvis Landry, LSU (second round, 63rd overall): Landry’s 4.77 was well behind Oregon State’s Brandin Cooks, the fastest receiver at 4.33, and also behind his LSU teammate, Odell Beckham Jr., who tied Sammy Watkins at 4.43. Landry was limited after injuring a hamstring running the 40, yet to their credit, the scouting reports told more than any stopwatch. NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said, “When you put the tape on to watch Odell Beckham play, you can’t tell which one is Beckham. I like the opportunity he’s going to get in Miami.” And Landry’s listed strengths were dead on: “Makes some spectacular, acrobatic grabs. Good concentration and toughness over the middle. Does not go down without a fight after the catch.”
WR DeVante Parker, Louisville (14th overall): Parker’s highlight, oddly enough, was 17 reps on the bench press, yet the word on him was, “won’t win the NFL Scouting Combine, but he will win when the ball is in the air.”
RB Jay Ajayi, Boise State (fifth round, 149th overall): This is where things really get interesting. Obviously there were major concerns about a knee injury Ajayi suffered in college, yet he put on a show in Indy that should have left a bigger impression than it did. Ajayi tied for ninth in the 40 (4.57), was 15th in the bench press (19 reps), fifth in the vertical leap (39 inches), tied for fifth in the broad jump (10-1), 12th in the three-cone (7.10), third in the 20-yard shuttle (4.10) and second in the 60-yard shuttle (11.10). The scouting report compared him to Marshawn Lynch. And see if any of this — make that all of this — sounds familiar: “Good size and great feet. Former soccer player with sudden feet. Able to string together multiple moves at a time. Varies speeds as a runner and can call on second gear when he sees daylight. Hips and feet always in sync thanks to soccer background. Shows enough wiggle to make defenders miss and can create and improvise if creases aren’t offering much.”
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