For years under Al Davis, the Raiders had a reputation for drafting players who ran very fast even if their on-field results were less impressive.
Davis has passed away, leaving a new group in charge of making personnel decisions and they’re using different criteria. That was evident at Georgia’s pro day on Thursday when General Manager Reggie McKenzie weighed in on linebacker Jarvis Jones‘ workout. Jones ran a 4.9-second 40-yard dash, which was slower than expected and which led observers like Mike Mayock of the NFL Network to suggest Jones could slip down draft boards. McKenzie had a slightly different take.
“You can never dispel what you see on tape,” McKenzie said, via the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
There’s a strange dance that goes on during the run-up to the draft where those who make a living studying the draft bang the drum for judging players based on how they perform on the field right up until the point a player has a disappointing workout. You obviously want to have fast players on your team, but you want productive ones more and Jones was very productive at Georgia while playing in a conference that every pundit has deemed the finest in all the land. It seems strange that one 40-yard dash would be given more weight than that.