Inside The Bills

Breaking down the 40

Posted by Chris Brown on February 14, 2011 – 10:50 pm

In the Feb. 10th issue of ESPN the Magazine they break down the 40-yard dash, from its evolution to it’s pure obsession nowadays with the explosion of popularity in the NFL Combine. They also quote Bills VP of College Scouting Tom Modrak.

The ESPN piece largely credits former Browns and Bengals head coach Paul Brown with the initial use of the 40 as a tool for evaluating talent,  though he had his players do it in full pads. Gil Brandt the original VP of Player Personnel for the Cowboys made Dallas the first team to use it more in the way its used for evaluation today.

But in the end the 40 is largely dismissed as overblown since it’s not an accurate measure of ‘want-to’ and how when a guy like Early Campbell had the ball nobody seemed to catch him despite clocking a 4.75 40 time in testing. And Modrak’s quote completed those sentiments.

“The 40 is just one overused piece of the puzzle,” Modrak said. “Playing speed on tape is the most important thing.”

Buffalobills.com will be covering the 2011 NFL Combine from Indianapolis beginning a week from Thursday.


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