Which Running Back Had the Best Speed Score at the 2018 NFL Combine?
This time of year, the NFL Draft process really get underway. The NFL Combine gives us plenty to dissect, whether good or bad for the NFL's incoming class of draft hopefuls.
A ton of weight gets put on a player's 40-yard dash time, but -- and excuse me for this -- without factoring in a player's weight, the number doesn't mean too much.
To help adjust for that, we'll dig into the Speed Scores for each running back who ran the 40-yard dash at this year's combine. Speed Score was created by Bill Barnwell, and you can read up on the formula more if you'd like.
So, who were the fastest running backs at this year's NFL Combine?
Here are the height, weight, 40-yard dash times, and Speed Score for all running backs who ran the 40-yard dash at this year's NFL Combine.
|Player||School||Height||Weight||40 Time||Speed Score|
|Saquon Barkley||Penn St.||72.0||233||4.40||124.3|
|Kalen Ballage||Arizona St.||73.0||228||4.46||115.2|
|Rashaad Penny||San Diego St.||71.0||220||4.46||111.2|
|Nyheim Hines||NC State||68.0||198||4.38||107.6|
|Ryan Nall||Oregon St.||74.0||232||4.58||105.5|
|Jarvion Franklin||Western Michigan||71.0||225||4.63||97.9|
|Roc Thomas||Jacksonville St.||70.0||198||4.56||91.6|
|Demario Richard||Arizona St.||68.5||218||4.70||89.4|
|Justin Crawford||West Virginia||71.0||202||4.64||87.2|
A few things stand out for sure.
Saquon Barkley's speed score was pretty rare and ranks him in the 99th percentile among recent draft prospects, according to PlayerProfiler. Barkley ran an unofficial 4.41 and 4.42 time, even with a stumble on his second attempt. Officially, he clocked in at 4.40.
Kalen Ballage finished second by Speed Score, ranking him in the 96th percentile among recent prospects. He has some production concerns, but he generated the same Speed Score as longtime 40-yard-dash record holder Chris Johnson.
Rashaad Penny added a top-three speed score to what is likely the most promising production profile in this year's draft class. He grades out in the 91st percentile or better in production and Speed Score.
SEC prospects Derrius Guice, Bo Scarbrough, and Nick Chubb round out the top six in terms of Speed Score.
Guice handled 37.2% of LSU's touches this season, ranking fourth among the 25 running backs who ran the 40. Scarbrough touched the ball on just 17.3% of Alabama's plays, one of the lowest marks in the class. In line with what the game tape suggests, Chubb looks to have regained his explosiveness after a gruesome knee injury.