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Scouting The 2011 NFL Combine: Target Numbers

Yesterday we looked at the battery of tests that College prospects will face at the NFL Scouting Combine. Today I'm going explain good measurables or "Target Numbers" to assist you in making your own player evaluations. Because the athletes get bigger, faster and stronger each year, I will also list the best efforts that I can find at each position, but I am limiting that to the last couple of seasons unless I find historical precedence. In other cases, I will supply known players measurables for comparison, since that is the real purpose for these numbers. That should give you a better understanding of where these prospects will land in the upcoming NFL Draft in April. So if you're ready, follow me after the jump.

I decided to approach this positionally by the order the prospects will test at the Combine, but first I want to get the top Combine scores out of the way. By the way, these are unofficial, since the NFL does not keep Combine statistics for record purposes.

Fastest 40-Yard Dash Time --  4.21 - Trindon Holliday (2010), 4.24 - Chris Johnson (2008).

Fastest Ten Yard Times -- 1.40 - Chris Johnson (2008) and Justin King (2008)

Most 225 Pound Bench Reps -- 45 - Leif Larsen (2000) and Mike Kudla (2006)

Highest Vertical Jump -- 46" - Gerald Sensabaugh (2005)

Fastest Shuttle Times -- 3.73 - Kevin Kasper (2001)

Quickest 3 Cone Drill Times -- 6.34 - Sedrick Curry (2000)

Offensive Linemen

For Offensive Linemen, strength, explosiveness and agility are mandatory requirements. Overall speed is not as critical, but any time around 5 seconds is good. Reach is another asset for a linemen to have, especially the Tackles. So the numbers to watch when rating these players would be their Arm length measurement, the Bench press, the Vertical and Broad jumps and the 10-yard split. A 35-37" reach is considered elite asset for a Left Tackle. For a Right Tackle, 32-34" would be very good.

40-yard Dash: Bruce Campbell - 4.85 (OT)
Bench Press: 43 - Scott Young, (OG), 38 - Russell Okung, Tony Pashos, (OT), 37 - Roberto Garza (C)
Vertical Jump: 35.5" -  Travis Bright
Broad Jump: 9' 6" - Tony Washington
20-yard Shuttle: 4.34 - Lydon Murtha
3-Cone Drill: 7.42 -  Roger Saffold

Drill Significance OT G/C
40-yard Dash Speed 5.29 5.29
10-yard Split (40) Quickness 1.81 1.85
20-yard Split (40) Burst 2.99 3.05
225 Bench Press (Reps) Upper body strength 24 26
Vertical Jump Explosiveness,leg strength 30" 30"
Broad Jump Explosiveness,leg strength 8' 6" 8' 6"
20-yard Shuttle Flexibility and burst 4.65 4.55
60-yard Shuttle Flexibility and endurance N/A N/A
3-Cone Drill Agility 7.85 7.85

Tight End

The Tight End position needs to have good all around numbers because of the Lineman-Receiver hybrid nature of the position. Strength, agility, lateral quickness and explosiveness are all assets for a Tight End. Blocking and soft hands for catching the ball also factor in to the evaluation process. Speed factors into the equation, but in this multi-dimensional position, Blocking strength can be a trade-off. There are only so many Shannon Sharpe or Tony Gonzales types that can do both.

40 time: 4.38 - Vernon Davis, 4.40 - Dorin Dickerson, 4.54 - Tony Scheffler and 4.58 - Jeremy Schockey
10-yard Split: 1.53 - Martellus Bennett, Gary Barnidge
20-yard Split: 2.59 - Greg Olson
Bench Press: 33 Reps - Vernon Davis
Vertical Jump: 42" - Vernon Davis
Broad Jump: 10'11" - Dustin Keller
20 Shuttle: 4.14 - Dustin Keller
60 Shuttle: 11.53 - Dennis Pitta
3-Cone Drill: 6.72  - Dennis Pitta

Drill Significance TE
40-yard Dash Speed 4.85
10-yard Split (40) Quickness 1.71
20-yard Split (40) Burst 2.81
225 Bench Press (Reps) Upper body strength 22
Vertical Jump Explosiveness,leg strength 32"
Broad Jump Explosiveness,leg strength 9' 6"
20-yard Shuttle Flexibility and burst 4.21
60-yard Shuttle Flexibility and endurance 11.8
3-Cone Drill Agility 7.31


Most of the Combine testing doesn't factor in too much for the quarterback position. A QB's arm, mechanics and (FBI) matter more than a fast 40 Time. Teams aren't looking for a statue, but mobility is a plus. The Quarterback prospects at the Combine will be judged on their ability to make all the throws that a Pro QB needs to make, their Wonderlic score, their physical measurements and their psychological makeup. Here are the numbers to keep an eye on as you rate this position.

40-yard Dash: Michael Vick (4.25), Pat White (4.55), Vince Young (4.58), Donovan McNabb (4.64) and Tim Tebow (4.71).
10-yard Split: 1.53 - Jared Zabransky
20-yard Split: 2.63 - Josh Johnson
Bench Press: 25 - Rhett Bomar
Vertical Jump: 38.5" - Tim Tebow
Broad Jump: 9'11" - Josh Freeman
20-yard Shuttle: 3.87 - Randy Fasani
3-cone drill: 6.66 - Tim Tebow

Drill Significance QB
40-yard Dash Speed 4.89
10-yard Split (40) Quickness 1.71
20-yard Split (40) Burst 2.85
225 Bench Press (Reps) Upper body strength N/A
Vertical Jump Explosiveness,leg strength 30"
Broad Jump Explosiveness,leg strength 9'-0"
20-yard Shuttle Flexibility and burst 4.31
60-yard Shuttle Flexibility and endurance N/A
3-Cone Drill Agility 7.25

Wide Receivers

For the Wide Receivers, the 40-yard Dash counts quite a bit in their evaluation and the Bench press not so much. In fact, Wide-outs are exempt from the Bench Press Test. The strength to beat press coverage is helpful, but obviously a good burst, an explosive first step, lateral quickness and agility are all higher requisites for a Receiver. Remember a guy by the name of Jerry Rice? He wasn't the fastest player on any of the teams he played for, but he could get out of his own way and get yards after the catch. Jerry excelled in running crisp pass routes and catching the ball, and that led him all the way to Canton. Large hands are nice things to possess too.

40 Time: Jacoby Ford and Mike Wallace (4.28) and Johnny Knox (4.29).
10-yard Split: 1.43 - Aundrae Allison
20-yard Split: 2.46 - Aundrae Allison
Bench Press: 27 - Brooks Foster, 24 - Eddie Royal
Vertical Jump: 45" - Chris Chambers
Broad Jump: 11’04" - Jerome Simpson
20-yard Shuttle: 3.73 - Kevin Kasper
60-yard shuttle: 10.92 - Brian Hartline
3-Cone Drill: 6.45 - Scott Long, 6.54 - Anthony Gonzalez

Drill Significance WR
40-yard Dash Speed 4.55
10-yard Split (40) Quickness 1.61
20-yard Split (40) Burst 2.65
225 Bench Press (Reps) Upper body strength 12
Vertical Jump Explosiveness,leg strength 36"
Broad Jump Explosiveness,leg strength 10' 0"
20-yard Shuttle Flexibility and burst 4.15
60-yard Shuttle Flexibility and endurance 11.4
3-Cone Drill Agility 7.01

Running Backs

The Running Backs grab some of the attention from the 40-yard Dash, but in truth, the split times should be given greater importance. Showing a quick burst through holes, explosiveness and leg strength are qualities for a good Running Back. I have some good comparative numbers for you to eyeball.
40-yard Dash: Chris Johnson ran a 4.24, (Electronically-Timed), C.J. Spiller - 4.27 and Darren McFadden - 4.33
10-yard Split: 1.40 - Chris Johnson
20-yard Split: 2.41 - Chris Johnson
Bench Press: 29 - Rashad Jennings (RB), 37 - Moran Norris, (FB)
Vertical Jump: 42" - William Green, (RB), 41" - Montario Hardesty
Broad Jump: 11'02" - Carl Stewart
20-yard Shuttle: 3.82 - Dante' Hall, 4.06 - Dexter McCluster
60-yard shuttle: 11.30 - Donald Brown, Beanie Wells, Javarris Williams
3-Cone Drill: 6.65 - Ray Rice

Drill Significance RB FB
40-yard Dash Speed 4.55 4.85
10-yard Split (40) Quickness 1.61 1.71
20-yard Split (40) Burst 2.61 2.81
225 Bench Press (Reps) Upper body strength 20 22
Vertical Jump Explosiveness,leg strength 36" 30"
Broad Jump Explosiveness,leg strength 9' 9" 9' 3"
20-yard Shuttle Flexibility and burst 4.21 4.25
60-yard Shuttle Flexibility and endurance 11.7 11.8
3-Cone Drill Agility 7.25 7.41

Defensive Linemen

This position supports the theory that football players are getting bigger, stronger and faster. Just look at the difference between the players listed below and the chart. Okay, so it's not a good representation for larger athletes, but we both know it to be true. Like their counterparts on the other side of the line of scrimmage, Defensive Linemen must possess strength, explosiveness and agility. This is where a higher rep count in the Bench Press counts more than a low 40 Time. The 10-yard split time will be looked at closely for these players.

40 Time : Cliff Avril 4.46, Jevon Kearse 4.58 (DT), Connor Barwin 4.59 (DE)  
Bench Press: 45 - Leif Larsen, (DT), 45 - Mike Kudla, (DE)
Vertical Jump: 40.5" - Connor Barwin (DE), 37" - Al Woods (DT)
Broad Jump: 10'08" - Daniel Te'o-Nesheim (DE), 9'09" - Geno Atkins (DT)  
20-yard Shuttle: 4.15 - Jerry Hughes (DE)     
3-Cone Drill: 6.84 - Thaddeus Gibson (DE)

Drill Significance DT DE
40-yard Dash Speed 5.15 4.85
10-yard Split (40) Quickness 1.81 1.71
20-yard Split (40) Burst 3.01 2.81
225 Bench Press (Reps) Upper body strength 26 24
Vertical Jump Explosiveness,leg strength 30" 33"
Broad Jump Explosiveness,leg strength 8' 9" 9' 9"
20-yard Shuttle Flexibility and burst 4.55 4.31
60-yard Shuttle Flexibility and endurance N/A 11.8
3-Cone Drill Agility 7.75 7.35


For this position, the major areas to pay attention to, are the 10 and 20-yard splits, the short Shuttle and 3-Cone and the two Jumping tests. Leverage, an explosive burst and the ability to change direction are positive attributes needed to play at this position. You better be good at Tackling too, but the coaches and scouts should have watched plenty of film on the guys they want to target for their team. The numbers for the Linebacker position look like this.

40 Time: Antwan Barnes - 4.40, Thomas Howard - 4.42, DeMarcus Ware - 4.51 and Aaron Curry - 4.56
10-yard Split:  1.46 - Gary Guyton, (OLB)
Bench Press: 41 - Terna Nande, (OLB), 36 - Liam Ezekiel, (ILB)
Vertical Jump: 45.5" - Derek Wake
Broad Jump: 11'02" - Dekoda Watson
20-yard Shuttle: 3.83 - Kevin Bentley, (OLB), 3.89 - Niko Koutouvides, (ILB)
60-yard shuttle: 11.31 - Josh Hull    
3-Cone Drill: 6.56 - Ben Taylor, (ILB)

Drill Significance ILB OLB
40-yard Dash Speed 4.81 4.71
10-yard Split (40) Quickness 1.71 1.65
20-yard Split (40) Burst 2.75 2.71
225 Bench Press (Reps) Upper body strength 24 23
Vertical Jump Explosiveness,leg strength 33" 36"
Broad Jump Explosiveness,leg strength 9' 6" 9' 9"
20-yard Shuttle Flexibility and burst 4.21 4.11
60-yard Shuttle Flexibility and endurance 11.7 11.4
3-Cone Drill Agility 7.21 7.11

Defensive Backs

The 40-yard Dash time is probably the most important test for the Defensive Backs evaluation. Don't ask me why. It seems to me that the only time a Defensive Back needs that straight line speed, is when he is getting beat on a deep pass. Lateral quickness, a closing burst of speed (explosiveness) and a good Vertical Jump would be preferred over flat-out speed. Anyway, here are some parameters to help you arrive at a more accurate evaluation.

40 Time (CB): 4.27 - Stanford Routt, 4.29 - Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie
40 Time (S): Tyvon Branch 4.26, Nick Collins - 4.28, Josh Barrett - 4.30, David Bruton - 4.32, Troy Polamalu - 4.40
10-yard Split  1.40 - Justin King, (CB), 1.43 - DaJuan Morgan, (FS), 1.43 - Eric Weddle, (SS)
Bench Press: 25 - Vontae Davis (CB), 32 - Kevin Ellison (S)
Vertical Jump  46 - Gerald Sensabaugh, (FS),  45" - Chris McKenzie, Donald Washington (CB)
Broad Jump: 11'3" - Donald Washington(CB), 11'0" - David Bruton(S)
20-yard Shuttle:  3.75 - Dunta Robinson, (CB),  3.83 - Jason Allen, (FS)
60-yard Shuttle: 11.07 - Morgan Trent(CB), 10.96 - David Bruton(S)
3-Cone Drill: 6.34 - Sedrick Curry, (CB), 6.48 - Rogers Beckett, (FS)

Drill Significance CB S
40-yard Dash Speed 4.55 4.61
10-yard Split (40) Quickness 1.61 1.65
20-yard Split (40) Burst 2.65 2.61
225 Bench Press (Reps) Upper body strength 15 18
Vertical Jump Explosiveness,leg strength 36" 36"
Broad Jump Explosiveness,leg strength 10' 0" 10' 0"
20-yard Shuttle Flexibility and burst 3.99 4.05
60-yard Shuttle Flexibility and endurance 11.2 11.2
3-Cone Drill Agility 6.99 7.11

Pat Kirwan has a couple of nuggets to consider when evaluating Combine numbers:

I look for two things as the test results come in over the weekend. Was a player's short shuttle time close to half-a-second under his 40 time? For example, a linebacker who runs 4.9 in the 40 appears too slow -- but if his short shuttle is under 4.4, he's worth a longer look because he can move with quickness.

A number of NFL people are interested in the 10-yard split in the 40. When you watch the combine, you will notice evaluators such as Bill Parcells and Gil Brandt sitting near the start of the 40-yard dash, watching the first 10 yards. Al Davis and Ron Wolf were always seated in the same spot for years.

The 10-yard and 20-yard split times are good indicators of a quick first step, something every coach wants to see in all his players.

The 3-Cone Drill and the short shuttle are truly more important to pay attention to than the 40-Times for most football positions. Face it, this game is played with a lot of directional changes. Anything 6.6 or below in the 3-Cone is a great time. Likewise, a time under four seconds in the short shuttle is terrific. It's all about reaction and a player's ability to change direction. For Wide Receivers it's about creating separation in pass routes. For a defensive player, it's shedding blockers and breaking on the ball.

When the Combine is over, I will chart the Explosion Factor and review the Production Ratio to see how some of these athletes have changed their draft stock. There may be a few surprises this weekend.

Go Broncos!