NFL Combine Drill Preview: 40-Yard Dash Important For Wide Receivers, Cornerbacks

Anthony CastonzoThe NFL Scouting Combine’s interviews, measurements and press conferences are important, but for viewers, it’s really all about the speed and agility drills, which start Saturday.

The offensive linemen, tight ends and specialists will work out Saturday. Quarterbacks, wide receivers and running backs are scheduled for Sunday. Defensive linemen and linebackers are up Monday, and defensive backs will go through the gauntlet Tuesday.

Find out which drills and workouts the prospects will have to compete in.

40-YARD DASH

The 40-yard dash is simple: A player gets into a three-point stance and runs straight for 40 yards.

This drill is most important for wide receivers and cornerbacks, since they’re the rare players who might actually run 40 yards in a straight line. NFL teams also time a player’s 10-yard and 20-yard splits. Those times are more important for players like running backs and linebackers, whose burst is more important than their long speed.

2013 Best: Wide receiver Marquise Goodwin, 4.27 seconds

2013 Worst: Guard Mark Jackson, 5.65 seconds

Watch Robert Griffin III’s 40-yard dash from 2012 to see how it’s done.

THREE-CONE DRILL

The three-cone tests agility and change of direction. Here’s how NFL.com describes the drill: “Three cones in an L-shape. He starts from the starting line, goes 5 yards to the first cone and back. Then, he turns, runs around the second cone, runs a weave around the third cone, which is the high point of the L, changes directions, comes back around that second cone and finishes.”

The Patriots appear to put a lot of value in the three-cone.

2013 Best: Cornerback Will Davis, 6.52 seconds

2013 Worst: Offensive tackle Menelik Watson, 8.31 seconds

Watch former Patriots cornerback Mike Richardson run the three-cone to see how it’s done.

20-YARD SHORT SHUTTLE

The short shuttle tests agility, explosion and lateral quickness. A player lines up between two cones, each 5 yards away. He runs 5 yards to his right and touches the line, comes back 10 yards to his left and touches the line and explodes 5 yards back to his right.

2013 Best: Cornerback B.W. Webb, 3.84 seconds

2013 Worst: Defensive tackle Kwame Geathers, 5.27 seconds

See how the drill is done.

BENCH PRESS

The bench press workout is pure chest and arm strength. Players test how many reps they can bench at 225 pounds.

2013 Best: Defensive end Margus Hunt, defensive tackle Brandon Williams, 38 reps

2013 Worst: Cornerback Demetrius McCray, defensive back Tyrann Mathieu, 4 reps

VERTICAL LEAP

The vertical leap tests how high a player can jump. It’s important for wide receivers and cornerbacks to see how well they can high-point a pass. It’s also a measure of explosion for running backs and pass rushers.

2013 Best: Running back Christine Michael, 43 inches

2013 Worst: Guard Mark Jackson, 20.5 inches

Watch Jameson Konz’ insane 46-inch vertical leap.

BROAD JUMP

The broad jump is a standing long jump. Like the vertical jump, it measures explosion.

2013 Best: Linebacker Jamie Collins, 11-foot-7

2013 Worst: Offensive tackle Oscar Johnson, 7-foot-4

Watch Patriots linebacker Jamie Collins nearly jump out of Lucas Oil Stadium in 2013.

Have a question for Doug Kyed? Send it to him via Twitter at @DougKyedNESN or send it here.

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