Stats & Info: Darrius Heyward-Bey

NFL combine: the long and short of things

February, 21, 2013

Chris Humphreys/USA TODAY Sports Trindon Holliday was the shortest player in the NFL last season (5'5"), but he came up big in the playoffs, where he picked up a pair of return touchdowns against the Ravens.
On-field workouts at the 32nd annual National Invitational Camp, also known as the NFL Combine, will begin Saturday at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

There will be plenty of talk about heights, weights, wingspans and waistlines, but what does it all mean?

Is 6'5" really SHORT by offensive line standards? (yes)

Can a pass-rusher succeed if he's less than six feet tall? Elvis Dumervil (5'11") thinks so.

Here's everything you wanted to know about the NFL Combine:

There's no more iconic drill at the combine than the 40-yard dash. But what does it mean when a guy has "4.3 speed"?

If a player truly runs the 40-yard dash in 4.3 seconds flat, he's in a small club. Since 2006, only six players have run a true 4.3-second 40-yard dash (or better), led by RB Chris Johnson (4.24).

While Johnson is a 3-time Pro Bowl selection, and only Adrian Peterson (7,508) has more rushing yards than Johnson over the last five seasons the rest of the names on this list have combined for zero Pro Bowl selections, and only Jacoby Ford, DeMarcus Van Dyke and Darrius Heyward-Bey are still active in the league.

Among QBs, it's no surprise that Robert Griffin III owns one of the best marks. The former Baylor track star ran a 4.41 at last year's combine, but since 2006, that's only the second-best time at his position.

Another QB from the Lone Star State, Texas A&M's Reggie McNeal, ran a 4.35 in 2006. McNeal finished his NFL career with just one rushing attempt for eight yards.

The Wonderlic is a 50-question test administered to all combine participants that measures cognitive ability. The time limit is 12 minutes.

A score of 20 is indicative of “average” intelligence and roughly equivalent to an IQ of 100. Former Bengals punter Pat McInally, who attended Harvard, is the only NFL prospect known to have scored a perfect 50 on the test.
Miguel Cabrera
Among QBs drafted over the last 2 years, Andrew Luck and Colin Kaepernick each scored 37, while Jake Locker (20) and Cam Newton (21) were less successful.

Although Wonderlic scores are not released to the public, QB Ryan Fitzpatrick (another Harvard alum) is reported to have scored a 48, the highest among active players.

The combine is full of remarkable performances, positive and negative.

Last year, DT Dontari Poe boosted his draft stock when he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.98 seconds after weighing in at 346 pounds. He also showed off his strength with 44 repetitions on the bench press.
Miguel Cabrera
In 2007, receiver Calvin Johnson wowed scouts with a 4.35 in the 40-yard dash...wearing borrowed shoes, as he'd originally intended not to run.

On the other hand, linebacker Vontaze Burfict shocked scouts in the wrong way last year with his time of 5.09 in the 40-yard dash.

In 2009, offensive lineman Andre Smith left the combine without informing officials. It was announced inside the stadium that his whereabouts were "unknown."

It all begins again on Saturday, when more than 300 invited prospects begin on-field workouts in Indianapolis.

Combine speed doesn't equal NFL success

April, 24, 2012

AP Photo/Michael ConroyDarrius Heyward-Bey ran the fastest 40-yard dash time (4.3) in the 2009 NFL Draft Combine, earning him the 7th overall pick by the Oakland Raiders. He has yet to record a 1,000-yard season.
Stats & Information gets you ready for the NFL Draft later this week by taking a look at draft strategies over the years. Today, what we make of Scouting Combine stars.

With the Combine seemingly becoming more of an emphasis each season, what is the correlation between the results from the week in Indianapolis to draft position and success in the league?

Darrius Heyward-Bey played at the University of Maryland for three seasons and never had more than 800 receiving yards or five touchdowns in any given season. Nevertheless, based on the strength of his 40-yard dash (4.3) in the 2009 NFL combine, the fastest of his year, the Oakland Raiders drafted him seventh overall.

In all of his 2009 mock drafts, ESPN analyst Mel Kiper Jr. predicted Heyward-Bey to be drafted 25th, below Michael Crabtree (eighth) and Jeremy Maclin (10th). Fellow analyst Todd McShay’s mock drafts were all similar to Kiper’s with Heyward-Bey being drafted around 20th. Both McShay and Kiper cited his speed and 40-yard dash time as primary reasons for teams to draft Heyward-Bey.

However, Heyward-Bey’s high draft position has not translated to success in the NFL. Since entering the league in 2009, Heyward-Bey has 99 career catches, six touchdowns and has yet to record a 1,000 yard season. In comparison, over the same timeframe, Maclin has 189 career catches and 19 touchdowns.

Heyward-Bey is just one example of the increased emphasis on combine results versus college careers since the combine began in 1982. The combine includes physical and psychological tests for the prospects along with interviews with team scouts, executives and coaches.

The 40-yard dash is an essential component of the combine for wide receivers as it can predict their speed in the open field. Similarly to running backs, speed in the 40-yard dash has led to a high draft position.

Since 2005, the average draft position of a wide receiver has been pick 128 (round four/five). The average draft position of the top-10 fastest wide receivers in the combine since 2005 has been 57th, over 70 positions higher than the average.

Unfortunately, their success in the combine and the draft has not translated in the league. Of the top eight fastest wide receivers from 2005-2011, only two are starters in the NFL (Jacoby Ford and Heyward-Bey) and six are not starters or are no longer in the league. They also have no Pro Bowl appearances. Of the six non-starters, they have a combined 184 receptions and 17 touchdowns.