Lack of speed won't hurt some prospects

Updated: February 16, 2012, 4:59 PM ET
By Steve Muench

There is some truth to the old adage that you can't coach speed, and some prospects have certainly made a lot of money by running well at the NFL combine, but those shooting stars are the exception rather than the rule.

Most organizations value polished football players above talented athletes with upside, so an average or even below-average 40-yard dash time isn't a death sentence for a prospect, and current Cleveland Browns CB Joe Haden is an excellent example.

Haden ran in the 4.6-second range at the 2010 combine, which likely hurt his stock with some teams, but Cleveland took him with the seventh overall pick that year because Haden is a better football player than sprinter and the organization recognized his value.

So who in the 2012 class could be in a similar situation? Here is a look at five prospects who aren't expected to wow scouts and coaches with their 40 times at this year's combine, but whose lack of elite top-end speed won't raise serious red flags. In fact, these prospects are in position to boost their stock somewhat because expectations aren't high to begin with.

Non-seniors are noted with an asterisk.