Even when he stumbles, Zach Brown can fly


North Carolina linebacker Zach Brown is so fast that a bad 40-yard dash for him is good for anyone else.

Brown ran his first 40-yard dash in an unofficial time of 4.45 seconds today at the NFL Scouting Combine, making him the fastest linebacker to run so far. And yet it clearly wasn’t Brown at his fastest.

Out of his start Brown appeared to stumble, and midway through his run he took an awkward step and looked like he wanted to stop. He shook his head as he crossed the finish line and looked disgusted with himself. And yet his time was still the best of any linebacker who has run today.

That’s no surprise. Brown also competed on North Carolina’s track team and is the Tar Heels’ record holder in the 60-meter dash, with a time of 6.72 seconds at a 2009 track meet.

Brown, who weighed in at 244 pounds, said he was hoping to run his 40 in 4.39 seconds. And he said NFL teams that put on the tape will see that he’s fast enough to cover anyone a linebacker would be asked to cover.

“I covered a lot at Carolina — I had seven total career picks,” Brown said. “[My speed] helps a lot so I can cover tight ends like Jimmy Graham, Vernon Davis, Jermichael Finley, all of the others.”

There aren’t many people anywhere who can outrun Brown.

UPDATE: On his second attempt, Brown managed to shave one-hundredth of a second off his time and finish at 4.44 seconds. His two 40-yard dashes are easily the two fastest we’ve seen today.

UPDATE 2: Cal linebacker Mychal Kendricks was unofficially timed at a 4.41-second 40-yard dash to move ahead of Brown in the linebacker speed rankings.