NFL Combine numbers sometimes lie

They put away the tape measure, scale and stopwatch at Lucas Oil Stadium on Monday as the league wrapped up the physical testing at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis. The players were all out the door on Monday, and the club personnel will be on their way on Tuesday.

Many consider the Combine to be nothing more than underwear Olympics and there’s no question that a lot of attention goes to the guys that post top-flight numbers in the testing whether it’s in the 40-yard dash, bench press or the 60-yard shuttle. Any group of football players will present a broad spectrum of body types and physical talents, and within that collection of over 340 players, there are some truly outstanding athletes.

That does not always translate to being a productive player in the NFL. The history of the NFL Draft is filled with examples of workout wonders that turned heads running around in t-shirt and shorts, lifting their station in the group. The poster child for the Combine bump was defensive end Mike Mamula out of Boston College in 1995.

Before the Combine that year, he was pegged as a mid-round prospect coming off a senior season when he had 13 sacks and 73 total tackles at B.C. But Mamula spent months getting ready not for football, but for the drills run during the Combine. He ended up running the 40-yard dash in 4.58 seconds at 250 pounds. That was faster than wide receiver J.J. Stokes. On the bench press with 225 pounds, he ripped off 28 repetitions or two more than offensive tackle Tony Boselli. He posted a 38.5-inch vertical jump, an unheard of number for a player of his size.

When the start of the ’95 NFL Draft came around, the Philadelphia Eagles traded up from No. 12 in the first round to No. 7 so they could select Mamula. It cost them a pair of second-round draft choices. Mamula was not a bust, but he never justified his selection at No. 7 with his play on the field. In five seasons with the Eagles he collected 31.5 sacks, eight forced fumbles and an interception.

In the last few NFL Combines the most athletic players that ended up with the Chiefs were defensive back Donald Washington in 2009 and nose tackle Dontari Poe in 2012. Washington posted the ninth best time in the 40-yard dash at the ’09 Combine at 4.49 seconds. His 45-inch vertical jump was the top number that year, as was his 11-feet, 3 inches in the broad jump.

Poe was the talk of the 2012 NFL Combine because of the athletic ability he showed at 346 pounds. When he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.98 seconds, every one attending took notice. When he lifted 225 pounds on the bench press 44 times, he raised the attention level even higher. The league was not sure what to make of Poe going into Indianapolis; he had been only a second-team choice for the Conference USA honors during the 2011 season at the University of Memphis.

Both Washington and Poe were drafted by now gone general manager Scott Pioli. Washington went in the fourth round as the 102nd player selected. He proved to be a good athlete but a bad football player – spending three years with the Chiefs, appearing in 32 of 48 possible games with five starts. His only statistic of note was a forced fumble.

Poe was chosen on pick No. 11 in the ’12 NFL Draft, and he’s lived up to his draft status, earning back-to-back trips to the Pro Bowl.

So, take the following numbers with a grain of football salt. There were some exceptional performances, including a new record in the broad jump at 12-feet, 3 inches by University of Connecticut cornerback Byron Jones. But the time in Indy is only part of the personnel puzzle.

Body numbers


  1. 6-feet, 8 inches – Trenton Brown, OT, Florida.
  2. 6-feet, 7 1/8 inches – Arik Armstead, DE, Oregon.
  3. 6-feet, 7 inches – Rob Havenstein, OT, Wisconsin; Jesse James, TE, Penn State; Andrus Peat, OT, Stanford; Corey Robinson, OT, South Carolina.


  1. 355 pounds – Trenton Brown, OT, Florida.
  2. 353 pounds – Tayo Fabuluje, OT, TCU.
  3. 339 pounds – Cedric Ogbuehi, OT, Texas A&M; Danny Shelton, NT, Washington.

Arm length

  1. 36 inches – Trenton Brown, OT, Florida.
  2. 35 7/8 inches – Cedric Ogbuehi, OT, Texas A&M.
  3. 35 5/8 inches – Corey Robinson, OT, South Carolina

Hand size

  1. 11 inches – Branden Scherff, OT, Iowa; Carl Davis, DT, Iowa; DeAndre Smelter, WR, Georgia Tech; Jean Sifrin, TE, Massachusetts.

Top performances in Combine drills

40-yard dash

  1. 4.28 seconds – J.J. Nelson, WR, Alabama-Birmingham.
  2. 4.31 seconds – Trae Waynes, CB, Michigan State.
  3. 4.33 seconds – Phillip Dorsett, WR, Miami.

10-yard split

  1. 1.42 seconds – Justin Coleman, CB, Tennessee.
  2. 1.47 seconds – Ronald Darby,CB, Florida State.
  3. 1.5 seconds – Adrian Amos, SS, Penn State; Durell Eskridge, FS, Syracuse.

Bench press

  1. 37 reps – Ereck Flowers, OT, Miami.
  2. 36 reps – Mitch Morse, OT, Missouri.
  3. 35 reps – Vic Beasley, OLB, Clemson; Deon Simon, NT, Northwestern State.

Vertical jump

  1. 45 inches – Chris Conley, WR, Georgia.
  2. 44.5 inches – Byron Jones, CB, Connecticut.
  3. 42.5 inches – Ameer Abdullah, RB, Nebraska; Davis Tull, OLB, Tennessee-Chattanooga.

Broad jump

  1. 12-feet, 3 inches – Byron Jones, CB, Connecticut.
  2. 11-feet, 7 inches – Chris Conley WR, Georgia.
  3. 11-feet, 6 inches – Bud Dupree, OLB, Kentucky.

3-Cone drill

  1. 6.61 seconds – Justin Coleman, CB, Tennessee.
  2. 6.63 seconds – Justin Hardy, WR, East Carolina.
  3. 6.64 seconds – Mario Alford, WR, West Virginia.

20-yard shuttle

  1. 3.82 seconds – Bobby McCain, CB, Memphis.
  2. 3.89 seconds – Kevin Johnson, CB, Wake Forest.
  3. 3.94 seconds – Byron Jones, CB, Connecticut.

60-yard shuttle

  1. 10.98 seconds – Byron Jones, CB, Connecticut.
  2. 11.00 seconds – Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin.
  3. 11.06 seconds – Ben Heeney, ILB, Kansas.