For tackles, running 40-yard dash is hardly critical to NFL success


So Mississippi tackle Laremy Tunsil won’t run the 40-yard dash before the draft. So what?

While those obsessed with measurables in a process that ultimately hinges on the unmeasurable, the question of how quickly an offensive tackle can cover 120 feet means little to his success. Case in point: Bruce Campbell.

Remember Bruce Campbell? If you don’t, we don’t blame you.

Campbell was a flash in the pan prospect who ran a 4.78-second 40-yard dash at the tackle position.

Due to his college game film from Maryland, Campbell was a fourth-round draft pick despite the ultra-fast 40. He appeared in 10 games as a rookie, four in 2011, five in 2012 — with zero career starts. And that was that.

In contrast, former Notre Dame tackle Zack Martin never ran a 40-yard dash before the 2014 draft. And the Cowboys took tackle Martin with the 16th overall pick that, if owner Jerry Jones had his way, would have gone to Johnny Manziel.

Martin simply capped his rookie season by being named a first-team All Pro.

So even though former Cowboys scout Gil Brandt has pointed out that the team never drafted a player in his 29 years there without confirmed times, it’s a good thing that policy wasn’t in place a pair of years ago. Otherwise, they may have selected instead a guy who ran the 40 — and who has taken the fast lane right out of the league.

14 responses to “For tackles, running 40-yard dash is hardly critical to NFL success

  1. “For tackles, running 40-yard dash is hardly critical to NFL success”


    That pretty much goes for any position.

  2. Unless they play for Chip Kelly, because a lineman’s ability to get down field as fast as his RB, is a requirement of the offense.

  3. Whats the big aversion to running 40 yards? There’s more than a 40 time being measured. Teams want to measure full speed splits of 10 and 20 yards within that 40. There’s more than 1 stop watch for a reason. Additionaly it could also be considered a measurable of a players willingness to do what makes them uncomfortable. If Tunsil is flat out refusing, that is an issue. What other drills might he decide arent relevent when he gets paid?

  4. The worst NFL teams pay the closest attention to the 40 yard dash and the best teams completely ignore the nonsense.

  5. The only 40-yd dash I ever cared about when it comes to O-line was Tyron Smith out of USC.

    Only cared because I remember one game, USC ran a sweep and one of the lineman pulled left, and actually OUTRAN one of those stud RB’s USC always has. Come to find out that lineman was Smith, and was curious what his 40-yd dash was. Otherwise… Who cares?

  6. REALLY… After all these years now they claim this. Hell half the stuff they do is bogus. Why don’t they run 7 on7s or skeleton with draftees and see what’s they are really like against the other draftees under pressure and simulated games like the real ones. Yea the broad jump is also another. Don’t see many people hopping around for first downs or with arms wrapped around them bringing them down. They need to make the combine closer to what football looks like during a game. Receivers with cbs on them running routes. Then We get to see who beats who and who is worth drafting. Or pass rushers bs lineman and who holds ground or who gets to a QB.
    Cmon Rog this isn’t hard to figure out and since you are a genius at hell I don’t know even you can implement this with all the other innovations you have not created but turmoil in your tenure.

  7. A 40 time isn’t critical to the success of any player in the NFL. There are simply zero situations in the NFL when a player gets into a runner stance and then runs 40 yards in a straight line. Ever.

    The reason the times are important to teams are that when paired with tape you can see if there is more to be squeezed out of players than is showing up on the film. You can see a lineman’s explosion in his 10 yard split. You can see if he’ll be able to pull in his 20 yard split. Will he be able to run downfield to block on a screen? If he’s running out of gas at the 30 yard split there could be cause for concern.

    There may not be a direct correlation between the 40 time of any player and his ability to play, however there is information to be pulled from the times. Otherwise teams wouldn’t waste their time collecting it.

  8. Wasn’t there just an article posted on this website yesterday saying that the Cowboys have never drafted someone without knowing their 40 time for 29 years?

  9. When I was in boot camp my drill sergeant said, “When you’re good people want you.”

    He doesn’t have to run, he’s going first.

  10. Bruce Campbell has bigger fish to fry than the NFL. He’s out saving the world from the Deadites.

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