If you want to draft football players who are both big and fast (and that’s certainly a better strategy than drafting football players who are both small and slow), you can’t do any better than Alabama tight end O.J. Howard and Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett.
According to FootballPerspective.com, Howard and Garrett are the two players in this year’s draft class with the best combination of size and speed.
That’s determined by finding the expected 40-yard dash time for players at every weight, from the fastest skinny receivers to the slowest, fattest linemen, and then comparing players’ actual times to what would be expected from their weights. Howard weighed in at 251 pounds, which means he would have been expected to run 4.81, but he ran 4.51 instead, which gives him a difference of 0.30 seconds. That was the best of any player at this year’s Combine. Garrett was just behind him, running a 4.64-second 40 at 272 pounds, a weight that comes with an expected 40 time of 4.93.
On that scale, Leonard Fournette has the most impressive time for any running back, clocking a 4.51-second 40 at 240 pounds. And John Ross, who broke the Combine record with a 4.22-second 40, ran 0.20 seconds faster than normal for a 188-pounder, which gives him the best score of any wide receiver.
The player with the worst combination of size and speed was Cal long snapper Bradley Northnagel, who ran a 5.30-second 40 at 243 pounds but no one really cares about a long snapper’s 40 time. For a player whose size and speed combination may really have hurt his draft stock, look at Arkansas wide receiver Drew Morgan, who ran a 4.74-second 40 at 190 pounds. At his size, a player would be expected to run at 4.44.
One other player whose speed is impressive is Auburn defensive tackle Montravius Adams. At 304 pounds, Adams ran a 4.87-second 40. That’s more than a quarter of a second faster than expect for his size. Adams was the fastest 300-pounder at the Combine.