What Type of 40-Yard Dash Times Should We Expect From This Year's Running Back Draft Class?
On Wednesday -- or today, if you're reading this on Wednesday -- this year's running back draft class got their height and weight (and arm and hand) measurements at the NFL combine.
It was thrilling.
I actually mean that, only because getting this data is important in figuring out which players will make strong leaps to the NFL. But for you, the person reading this -- you probably don't care.
Height and weight can play a big role in how these players are defined, though. For instance, this past week, I looked at how successful running backs performed at the combine, and one thing was evident: good players generally did better than their peers in the Speed Score category, which adjusts a 40-yard dash time for weight.
This makes more sense when you look at the relationship between weight and 40-yard dash time.
Essentially, anyone below the trendline is succeeding at the 40 given their weight, and anyone above it isn't. And the larger the man, the slower the man.
Now, weight isn't the only variable in determining how fast a runner is, but it's a variable. So given this trendline and the fact that we now have weights of this year's running back class, we can start to see how fast these backs will be expected to run their 40-yard dash.
Here's a list of running back combine participants, their weight, and the average 40-yard dash time a running back has run since the 2005 combine given that specific weight.
With players like Leonard Fournette and Dalvin Cook, this isn't saying that I'm expecting them to run 40 times at the specific speed listed. Fournette should easily exceed the 4.617 time shown above, and that's part of the reason he's arguably the top running back in this loaded class.
What this does show is the average. There haven't been a ton of hefty, 240-pound backs at the combine over the last 10-plus years, but amongst them, the average has been well above a 4.6-second 40.
This is kind of just a checklist. It's a gut check to make sure these players are on the right path.