Trivia: What do Mel Kiper, Todd McShay, Solange Knowles, The Ghost of Christmas Past, Beethoven and I all have in common?
Answer: We all have exactly the same amount of experience working for NFL teams.Â Zero.
Yes, itâ€™s that time of year where fans of the NFL, in their eternal pre-Draft optimism, are bombarded with the same torrents of garbage talking points that weâ€™ve come to know and love.Â In spite of the fact that both you and I know that the NFL Combine is a big truckload of cow chips with respect to its predictive capability, I decided to crunch some numbers anyway.
I compiled a table of the Combine/Pro Day performances of some of the best receivers in the NFL.Â My selection criteria is by no means scientific as I sought to exclude the Calvin Johnsons (Giant Robotic Space Weapons) and Desean Jacksons (Dudes who are really, really, really fast) of the world.Â Removing the genetic mutants and track athletes was an easy decision and has provided what I think is a better list of receivers.Â Kelvin Benjamin is 6â€™5â€, 240, but he canâ€™t catch a cold.Â I wouldnâ€™t insult JD by including him in the comparison.Â Enjoy. (P.S. If you can’t read this, you’re getting old.)
Height & Weight: 6â€™ 2â€, 202, 9 7/8 inch hands â€“ JD is 1.5 inches taller and 6 pounds lighter than the average NFL leading wide receiver.Â I know if my wife gained 6 pounds, sheâ€™d end up perched on a clock tower somewhere, but in the pantheon of heights and weights, this is a non-issue.Â There are certainly folks who would argue that JDÂ looked like he played in the 195-ish range and at the end of last year I might not have disagreed with them.Â The truth is heâ€™s much bigger than Antonio Brown & ODB and an afternoon at Joe Tâ€™s away from balancing the scale with Sammy Watkins, DeAndre Hopkins and Amari Cooper.Â Also, I just measured my own hands at 9 5/8 inches and the only thing theyâ€™re good for is holding 4 beers while I verbally abuse Baylor fans.Â I dare you to go measure your own handsâ€¦ in fact, I double dare you.
40 Yard Dash Time: 4.50 â€“ Allen Robinson and Sammy Watkins lead the NFL in yards per catch this season at 17.5. Â JDâ€™s time in the 40 has him right in the middle of the guys who were at the top of the Leagueâ€™s statistical proxy for catching the deep ball.Â Sure the Jaguars were terrible and Buffalo plays like Jimmy Fallon after an open bar, but 1000+ yards at 17.5 per catch is no joke.Â JD holds his own in the speed category.Â Letâ€™s not forget Anquan Boldin and Jerry Rice both ran 4.65 in the 40 and don’t get me started on Jarvis Landry.Â At what other measures of explosiveness might we look next?
Vertical Leap and Standing Broad Jump: 41.0â€, 131â€ â€“ In short, world class.Â Nothing chaps the area between myâ€¦ nevermindâ€¦ like hearing perennial Big-Ten fellator Mike Mayock call Jalen Ramsey an Olympic level athlete (even though Ramsey didnâ€™t have a single interception last year in a conference where NC State & Boston College call home) then casually mention that JD has â€œimproved his stockâ€.Â Ramsey jumped 41.5â€ and 135â€ and JD is among a handful of players who fall right behind Ramsey at the top of the charts.Â Also, think the Combine doesnâ€™t matter at all?Â Talk to Byron Jones.Â Iâ€™ll personally crane kick any scout who claims to have seen tape of the Connecticut safety before he jumped 147â€ in the standing broad jump last year.
3 Cone, Short Shuttle and Long Shuttle: 6.84, 4.08, 11.06 â€“ The only Combine performers over the last ten years who post better numbers are Oâ€™Dell Beckham, Jr. and Amari Cooper, the 12th and 4th overall picks in their respective Draft classes.Â Doctson is also taller than both of them (and doesn’t look like a Muppet either). Â JD is also much quicker than Jeremy Maclin and Victor Cruz.Â Iâ€™d expect him to be quicker than Dez Bryant and Allen Robinson who are both 20 lbs heavier, but probably not â€œsmallerâ€ dudes like Maclin and Cruz.
Short of bringing doughnuts for breakfast every morning, Josh Doctson could not have represented himself or his college any better. Â Look for Part Two of this article later this week… sooner if it keeps raining.
Bonus -Â For grins I put together a table of the Combine performances of some other notable 1st round picks for more thorough fans and anyone else who thinks it’s great that the only Baylor product on the list has 8 5/8 inch hands. Â That’s probably not the only reason why he’s been a disappointment in the League.
Double Bonus -Â Here’s another great Horned Frog Combine performance in case you forgot.