Terrell Sinkfield’s 4.19-second 40 doesn’t pass the smell test

It makes for a great headline: An unheralded prospect from a small school showed up at Minnesota’s Pro Day and turned in a 40-yard dash that was faster than anyone has ever run at the NFL Scouting Combine.

Unfortunately, you’d have to be a fool to believe it.

According to FOX Sports North, Northern Iowa receiver was timed at 4.19 seconds in the 40, which would break Chris Johnson’s Combine record of 4.24 seconds. Sinkfield said afterward that that’s what he was aiming for.

That was the expectation, really. Aim big. I was trying to get that 4.1,” Sinkfield said.

But come on. If someone timed Sinkfield at 4.19 seconds, that means someone had an itchy trigger finger on his stopwatch. Does anyone seriously believe that Sinkfield, who has no major track and field accomplishments beyond high school, is faster than Broncos return man Trindon Holliday, who won the NCAA 100-meter dash title? That’s what you’d have to believe if you believe Sinkfield ran a 4.19-second 40. Sinkfield caught 43 passes for 499 yards and four touchdowns in his senior season, and his longest catch of the year was 32 yards. Does anyone seriously believe that a guy who can run a 4.19-second 40 would only average 11.6 yards a catch, only score four touchdowns and never break one longer than 32 yards against Division I-AA competition? If Sinkfield ran a 4.19-second 40, then I had a 4.0 GPA.

Fortunately, we don’t only have to rely on this one dubious stopwatch for Sinkfield’s 40 time. Scott Studwell, the Vikings’ director of college scouting, was also timing Sinkfield and told the Pioneer Press that Sinkfield is fast, but he didn’t break 4.3 seconds in any of his three 40-yard dash attempts.

He ran in the high 4.3s. He can run. He ran fast. He tested well,” Studwell said.

Good for Sinkfield for running in the high 4.3s. That’s a great time, a time that will get him noticed by NFL teams. Only 11 players at the Scouting Combine were in the high 4.3s or faster.

But the reports of the 4.19 are a good reminder that Pro Day numbers aren’t always what they’re cracked up to be. When you hear a Pro Day number that sounds like it couldn’t possibly be true, don’t believe the hype.

53 responses to “Terrell Sinkfield’s 4.19-second 40 doesn’t pass the smell test

  1. Wait until Notre Dame’s Pro Day. I’m sure Manti Te’o will run a “4.25”, beaten only by Lennay Kekua’s time.

  2. I don’t know why every time isn’t measured electronically with cameras? It would by far be the most accurate form of timing. Nothing tells the truth like a photo finish.

  3. My big out of shape ass would probably run a 9.0 40. I’d make Brady look like Usain Bolt. So even if it is b.s. and it probably is, he is still pretty fast I’m very sure

  4. These personal attack articles are getting ridiculous. Did you watch a single Northern Iowa game to see what kind of offense was run? Has it also maybe occurred to you that he’s just fast and can’t catch a football? Do you know who timed the 4.19 or just found a scout who timed him slower?

  5. People who run fast make me mad, but I have to admit they are also very smart. People who are smart say they run fast, like 4.19, but maybe they are not what they seem. Could it be that when we’re not looking something wlse is going on? Flacco got paid too much as well.

  6. Even at 4.3 that’s very impressive…But I’d also question why a man that fast didn’t have better receiving numbers.

  7. It would be a handtime anyways, which is unofficial. The unofficial times at the combine are several tenths of a second off sometimes.

    Having said that, a players speed doesnt necessarily equate to explosive plays. He could be fast and just suck at football.

  8. There a lot of folks out there that don’t play sports but are fast, so i wouldn’t doubt the guy. 40 yards is not like the 100 meters. If you get a great start in a 40 yard dash, you could possibly run a really good time.

  9. I wish Darrell Green and “Bullet” Bob Hayes had run their 40’s with today’s modern equipment. I for one do think they regularly ran legitimate 4.1’s. The problem is that since they regularly hit those 4.1’s only on hand-held stopwatches, they’ll always be doubted/dismissed. When you watch film of those guys though, it’s clear that speedsters like Chris Johnson weren’t quite in their league. And that’s coming from a Titans fan.

  10. @mrstinkypants: Al Davis died in 2011. Your RAIDERS reference is irrelevant and trite.

    The RAIDERS are no longer a height/weight/speed team.

    Please pay attention to current events if you are going to contribute.

    You silly simpleton.

  11. The reason why 4.19 doesn’t equal monster stats, is because speed is only one aspect of a player’s talent and it isn’t the most important. Also the 40 is run on a track surface in a straight line in ultra light running shoes not on grass in pads running routes and making cuts.

  12. Pro days are glorified walk throughs as a GM I would rather see the repoire these QB’s have with Wr’s they haven’t played with.

  13. Wait a second…the NFL is still depending on guys punching stopwatches? You could carry everything required to do electronically-timed sprints in a laptop bag.

  14. Why do they bother handtiming anyway? When tenths of a second are a big deal who is going to trust a human to be precise enough?

  15. Remember that this is the time of year where everything from teams has a degree of stink to it. If he DID run a 4.19 Studwell isn’t going to announce it. Welcome to Purple young man you just became Harvin’s return replacement…SKOL!

  16. I have a co-worker with his surname so I passed it on. Yes, he is fast, but likely not that fast. At the very least he got himself an undrafted free agent contract.

  17. If ryan fitzpatrick and trent edwards are your qb, it is very possible… likely even, that a guy running a 4.19 could not catch a pass longer than 32 yards.

  18. I do not find it hard to believe. Maybe he had a one in a lifetime perfect everything on that 40? Great start, got up to speed perfectly and finished strong?

    I sat congrats to the kid for hitting everything just right.

    I love how people doubt other people just because they “can’t believe it”. Give the kid the benifit of the doubt.

  19. the logic in this article is nutso.

    He didnt run track so he cant be really fast….

    He isnt a great WR so he cant be fast….

    And the best part is 4.19 is comepletely out of the question. But 4.30 .11seconds different, is completely plausible.

  20. Football is more than just running fast. Otherwise there would be a bunch of real cheetahs out there.

    You have to catch, run the correct routes, take hits, know what the QB is thinking, etc.

    Plus you have to fit into the Nike uniforms. Don’t think they have cheetah sizes yet. And did you ever put a toy helmet on a kitty cat? Their whiskers are blocked so they just freeze up and won’t move.

    What the hell am I talking about?

  21. If track can do electronic timing, then so can the NFL. Oh, I forgot. The NFL is so poor they can’t afford proper timing instruments and instead are forced to resorting to charging fans for combines and going hat in hand asking the taxpayers for brand new or lavishly renovated stadiums every 5 years.

  22. Running a 4.19 40 yard dash in no way translates to running a fast 100 meter dash. They are entirely different disciplines. Different techniques, different peak times, etc.

    Fast is fast, but a lot of what makes a fast 40 is a fast start. If you are slow out of the gate in the 40, you tend to dramatically increase your time. However, in the 100m run, slower starts are way less penalizing.

    It is possible to run a faster 40 yard dash than someone else and not be faster than them in the 100 meter distance.

    How many 100 meter guys are good at running 1600 meters? Virtually none.

    Did he run a 4.19? Probably not, but the article has no actual proof of that.

  23. i find it hard to believe michael david smith is employed as a writer. this is the secomd straight article of his today that is ridiculously flawed and useless. he’s also the only writer here who responds to, and likes to argue with commenters. step your game up, smith!

  24. Here, let me put your logic in true perspective based on your own “article” that you wrote.

    “Does anyone seriously believe that Sinkfield, who has no major track and field accomplishments beyond high school”…could run a 4.3?

    There were only 11 players with those type of times. So the odds were against even the time the Vikings Director of College Scouting clocked him at.

  25. It just goes to show you, if the time is too fast (or too slow) to be true, it probably isn’t. Why is this a story if it was timed by someone else at 4.3?

  26. What stinks is this article. Maybe the scout had a slow reaction instead…I bet there are plenty of people with no athletic background, let alone field and track, that can run sub 4.2 seconds.

    I’m not saying Sinkfield is that fast, just why the author casts so much doubt and write a bashing article that his time just can’t possibly be faster than CJ’s.

  27. “Does anyone seriously believe that Sinkfield, who has no major track and field accomplishments beyond high school, is faster than Broncos return man Trindon Holliday, who won the NCAA 100-meter dash title? ”

    First of all, the 100m and 40 yd dashes are different events, and can’t be compared. One of the fastest humans in the world is Justin Gatlin, who as recently as the 2012 Olympics ran a sub-10 second 100m, but in his prime couldn’t break 4.42 in a 40 yard dash when he tried out for the NFL a few years ago.

    Second, it is well known that wind aids sprinters’ times, by as much as 0.15 seconds over 100m in a mild breeze. Was the workout outside? If it was, I’m sure the wind in Minneapolis this time of year was more than a mild breeze, so it isn’t unreasonable to assume he would have received some significant assistance with his 40 time.

    Now, that said, it still doesn’t mean that he is actually that fast. But the logic used to downplay the reported time is severely flawed.

  28. I could believe, that he is that fast and only had an average of 11 yards per reception, and a long catch of 32 yards in Pat the Cleveland Browns west coast offense of 2012!

  29. Does anyone seriously believe that a guy who can run a 4.19-second 40 would only average 11.6 yards a catch, only score four touchdowns and never break one longer than 32 yards against Division I-AA competition?
    Yes, when your QB doesn’t throw any further than 10 yard cross patterns.

  30. Which would break Chris Johnson’s Combine record of 4.24 seconds.


    Somebody had an itchy finger on the stopwatch with Chris Johnson too.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.