Of all the events of the recently-completed Scouting Combine (even Mike Silver has “borrowed” our “Underwear Olympic” label), none attracts more attention than the activity that occurs on a football field only when something very good — or very bad — is happening: Running 40 yards in a straight line.
In Indy, the exercise gets measured both electronically and by hand. Inevitably, the electronic times are a bit slower. The hand-held times consistently seem to be a little faster.
For Robert Griffin III, his official electronic time came in at 4.41 seconds. A source with knowledge of the official hand-held numbers tells PFT that, in every instance, Griffin was under 4.4.
The official hand-held measurements range from 4.33 to 4.38 seconds, blazing fast at any position but incredibly fast for a quarterback.
Though the number tends to be a bit overblown, especially since the player isn’t wearing a helmet or pads, that kind of speed can be the difference between Mike Vick and Vince Young.
Both Vick and Young could consistently elude defenders when moving vertically at the college level. In the NFL, Vick’s highest gear allowed him to sprint past pro-caliber defensive backs. Young couldn’t, and as a result he took too many hits after heading north (or south), which invited too many leg injuries.
Thus, that kind of speed can be a blessing and a curse. For Vick, he didn’t acquire much/any patience in the pocket until he landed in Philly. Even now, he still remains too quick to abandon his progression and rely on his ability to get separation from the men who are chasing him. Which, given that he is slower than he used to be, exposes him to injury too frequently.
The challenge for Griffin’s first NFL coaching staff will come from how best to control and utilize his uncanny God-given speed.
There are far worse challenges to have.