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Assessing McCoy's bench-press results

3/2/2010

Gerald McCoy's performance in the combine bench press -- 23 repetitions of 225 pounds -- was seen as a disappointment.

The other elite defensive tackle in this draft class, Ndamukong Suh, cranked out 32 reps.

What do these reps mean?

Perhaps nothing.

The 49ers' Kentwan Balmer pumped out 33 reps as a defensive tackle at the 2008 combine. He has zero starts in two seasons.

Strength is important, but quickness and leverage can be essential.

Cortez Kennedy was a prime example. He went into the 1990 combine focused on keeping his weight down. He wasn't a weight-room freak. He was a natural football player. He recalled managing 23 reps in the bench press, which would match McCoy's total. Kennedy also recalled covering 40 yards in the 4.86- to 4.89-second range at more than 290 pounds. He played with tremendous leverage and quickness on his way to earning a spot on the all-decade team for the 1990s.