Michigan cornerback DJ Turner II posted the fastest time in the 40-yard dash at this year’s NFL Scouting Combine, and his 4.26-second performance is the fifth-fastest ever by any position.
Turner is projected to be selected in the second round of next month’s NFL draft. At this year’s event, he also ranked in the top five of all time. Illinois State safety Yartavius Martin with a 44-inch vertical jump.
While a major role in the scouting combine can foreshadow NFL glory, as in the case of Deion Sanders, who clocked 4.27 seconds in the 40-yard dash in 1989, a standout performance in what some call the “Olympics in underwear,” doesn’t necessarily predict an exemplary NFL career.
Some of the greatest performers in Indianapolis, like Ohio State tight end Mike Kudla in 2006 or Missouri wide receiver Emmanuel Hall in 2019, never heard their names called in the draft or played in an NFL game.
While more detailed indicators of a prospect’s potential and fitness can be gleaned from workouts, game film, team visits, sit-down interviews and college pro days, standing out in one or more key drills at the annual franchise meeting and their future stars can raise players on the draft board.
Here are some of the NFL Scouting Association’s other all-time greats and a look at how the players fared on the field:
4.22 seconds — John Ross III, WR, Washington, 2017 Drafted No. 1 overall by Cincinnati, Ross caught 11 TD passes and played in just 37 games over five NFL seasons with the Bengals and Giants.
Noteworthy: 4.24 — Chris Johnson, RB, East Carolina, 2008 Drafted 24th overall by Tennessee, he rushed for 2,006 yards and 14 TDs in 2009 and scored 54 times in a 10-year career with the Titans “, “Jets” and “Cardinals”.
49 reps — Stephen Paea, DT, Oregon State, 2011 Paea, Chicago’s second-round pick, started three seasons with Chicago. He also spent a year in Washington, Cleveland and Dallas.
Noteworthy: 44 (tie) — Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis, 2012 Drafted 11th overall by the Chiefs, Poe also played for Atlanta, Carolina and Dallas during a nine-year career that included two Pro Bowls .
45 inches (tie) — Chris Conley, WR, Georgia, 2015 A third-round pick out of Kansas City, Conley spent nine years in the NFL, including stints with the Jaguars, Texans and Titans. He has 16 career TDs.
45 inches (tie) — Donald Washington, CB, Ohio State, 2009 A fourth-round pick, he spent three seasons in the NFL, all with Kansas City, and never caught a pass.
Noteworthy: 44 (tie) — Juan Thornhill, South Virginia, 2019 A second-round pick by Kansas City, Thornhill has been a mainstay in the Chiefs’ second-round offense, recording eight career interceptions and winning two Super Bowls.
12’3″ Byron Jones, CB, UConn, 2015 The Cowboys drafted Jones 27th overall, and he missed just four games in a solid seven-year career that ended with two seasons in Miami.
6.42 seconds — Jeff Mayle, WR, Oregon, 2011 Undrafted, Mayle played three games over two seasons in Houston and 24 games over two years in Philadelphia, where he posted his only career TD in 2013 .
Noteworthy: 6.44 — Buster Skrine, DB, Chattanooga, 2011 Drafted by Cleveland in the fifth round, Skrine has defied the odds with an 11-year NFL career with the Browns, Jets, Bears, 49ers and “Titans”.
20 YARDS MAN
3.81 seconds (tie) – Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State, 2014 The 20th overall pick by the Saints, Cooks’ impressive nine-year career includes 49 TD catches and appearances for the Patriots, Rams and Texans “.
3.81 seconds (tie) — Jason Allen, CB, Tennessee, 2006 Miami’s 16th overall pick had a solid seven-year NFL career that included 15 interceptions and stints with Houston and Cincinnati.
Worth noting: 3.85 (tie) — Justin Simmons, FS, Boston College, 2016 A third-round pick by Denver, Simmons has been a top safety with multiple picks in all seven seasons, including a top-six in the league in 2022.
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