40-yd dash times..about a foot?

Discussion in 'Patriots Draft Talk' started by Lamanai, Feb 27, 2011.

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  1. Lamanai

    Lamanai On the Game Day Roster

    A lot of data coming in from the Combine about speed, strength, agility, etc. I try not to get too hung up on these numbers as I think actual performance on the field trumps all. But in the absence of game tapes to review, I can see why we fans attach a lot of importance to these measures.

    As the results come in I see guys rocketing up the boards because of a blazing 4.4 forty, while others plummet like a rock because of a plodding 4.6 forty. Using a little simple math, I calculated that over a distance of 40 yards (straight line speed, no changes of direction, decison-making tim, etc...) the Greyhound would be only about 14 inches ahead of the Clydesdale.

    I know it is a game of inches, but I think this puts things a little into perspective. Two-tenths of a second is a very short amount of time. The differences between players' times is extremely thin. In most instances, superior decison-making ability (runner locating the hole, LB diagnosing he play) can easily make up for the raw speed.

    Bottom line: If a guy has outstanding on-field results, but "drops" because he tests poorly at the combine, I might see that as a big opportunity.

  2. Fencer

    Fencer Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

    #12 Jersey

    Quite right. Especially because reaction time at the start of a sprint may not be highly correlated with reaction time in a real life football-running situation.
  3. reamer

    reamer Third String But Playing on Special Teams

    Good point. I agree with you for the most part.

    Yet think about the difference between a catch a broken up pass; often the difference is just a few inches. Fourteen inches can make a huge difference forty yards down field.

    I think the better comparison is 10 yard splits. If there's a significant difference in their short-area explosion, it could be the difference between a pass-rusher punching the ball from the QB's hands and not reaching the passer at all. So in the end, those few inches separate the elite players from the very good or just decent.
  4. MaineMan

    MaineMan 2nd Team Getting Their First Start

    Yup. 10-yd split and change-of-direction drills. A lot of a CB's 40-yd speed advantage is nullified if he gives up a step every time a receiver makes a cut. But part of that is anticipation, too.
  5. upstater1

    upstater1 Pro Bowl Player

    All things being equal (players carry their weight in pads the same way they do in the combine, players react to plays similarly, quick twitch, etc.) then 14 inches could be a big deal. It's the difference between breaking a tackle and being tackled.

    But, you're right in that you can't read too much into these numbers.
  6. Lamanai

    Lamanai On the Game Day Roster

    It is 14 inches 40 yards later. And that is the difference between 4.40 and 4.60, or 0.2 seconds...

    Sounds like we agree that other factors are more important.
  7. upstater1

    upstater1 Pro Bowl Player

    Right but, if you look at the splits, that doesn't mean a player pulls away after the first 10 yards. You'll find the biggest differentials in the first 10 yards. That's where most of the 14 inches come from.

    For instance, just watching on TV today, you could literally tell which players had the fastest times just by their form and the way they came off the start. DeMarco Murray simply looked better running than most of the other RBs. It was pretty obvious. While other players are bobbing around in the first 10 yards and you just know they are not going to get a good time. But I bet after the first 10 yards, Murray and many of those players who ran slower would go stride for stride.
  8. Patriot Missile

    Patriot Missile Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

    #12 Jersey

    Good post. 10 yard split is valued high because of the speed of a quick twitch athlete. With a CB it is the difference of breaking on a ball. that 0.1 second is all the time in the world when it comes to jumping a route. Not so much downfield where a perfect throw seals the play.

    Same for a LB who is asked to play in space. It can tell you a lot about a defensive end and his ability to close space in a hurry on a QB.
  9. ultimate

    ultimate Rookie

    First off I agree the 40 can be overrated and is best used in the overall evaluation process, but I think your calculations may be off.

    Average speed for a 4.4 40 is about 9.091 yards/sec
    Average speed for a 4.6 40 is about 8.695 yards/sec

    Given 4.4 seconds a 4.6 runner will travel approximately 38.258 yards, a difference 1.742 yards.

    That is a separation of over 5 feet. If that a cornerback he'd be extra crispy as in burnt.

    And yes I know I'm a total nerd.
  10. Box_O_Rocks

    Box_O_Rocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

    :rocker: For making the effort!
    :rocker: For being a nerd!
    :rocker::rocker::rocker: For summing up in terms even a knuckle dragger like me can understand!
  11. MaineMan

    MaineMan 2nd Team Getting Their First Start

    As long as we're being nerdy ....

    If my math is correct, a 240# LB running a 1.50 10-yd split would bring as much momentum to a collision with the ball-carrier as a 265# LB running a 1.65 10-yd split. The difference being that the 265# guy would still be nearly a yard away from impact at the end of 1.5 seconds, or one more step in which the ball-carrier can build his own momentum.
  12. Patriot Missile

    Patriot Missile Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

    #12 Jersey

    Great first post nerd. :D Excellent work too.
  13. ctpatsfan77

    ctpatsfan77 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

    #3 Jersey

    I don't feel like pulling out my abacus and slide rule right now ;), but I can point out that John Brenkus of ESPN's Sport Science raises a good point about this in his book The Perfection Point:

    I can't say this with absolute certainty, but it would appear that, for most players running the 40, they are either maxed out by the end of the 40 or still (slightly) accelerating.

    In other words, they cover the last 20 yards significantly faster than the first 20. . . . which means that the distance might be even greater than a yard or two.
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