NFL Combine: Speed Demons
The 40-yard dash is the most heralded workout at the Combine. Check out this list of of 2014 NFL Draft prospects that can really move.
Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson
Rated the best receiver in the 2014 NFL Draft by many draft analysts, Watkins burst onto the scene as a true freshman in 2011 with 82 receptions for 1,219 yards and 12 touchdowns. He fell off as a sophomore due to injuries, but rebounded with 101 receptions as a junior. In June 2013, Watkins tweeted that he ran an unofficial 4.27-second 40-yard dash time on grass, without training. Watkins used this speed mostly in the screen game at Clemson, as he caught 57.4% of his passes off screens.
Tevin Reese, WR, Baylor
When you are the fastest player on the Baylor football team, you're an athletic freak. The 5-foot-10, 170-pound wide receiver doesn't have ideal size, but Reese more than makes up for it with his reported 4.32 40-yard dash time -- to go with a 45-inch vertical. He was limited to eight games for the Bears because of a dislocated right wrist, but still managed eight touchdowns and a 22.8 yard average on 38 receptions. He leaves Waco with 21 of his career 24 touchdowns of the 40-plus yard variety.
Josh Huff, WR, Oregon
While Huff doesn't have the most consistent hands in the draft, he does have speed. Against rival Oregon State in the Civil War, he went off for nine receptions, 186 yards and three touchdowns. He constantly got open from the outside with deep outs and post routes that included a 37-yard grab in the fourth quarter where he reversed the field and outran three Beaver defenders. Huff was second in the Pac-12 with 12 receiving touchdowns last year.
Robert Herron, WR, Wyoming
Herron is relative unknown after playing in Laramie, Wyoming. The 5-foot-10 receiver out of Los Angeles led the Cowboys with 72 receptions for 937 yards and nine touchdowns ... in the Mountain West Conference. Herron, who ran a 10.5-second 100m time in high school, went bananas against No. 15 Texas in the first game of his junior season with five receptions for 173 yards and two touchdowns. And he thrived at the Senior Bowl, constantly separating himself from defenders with his straight-line speed.
Bruce Ellington, WR, South Carolina
Ellington is more of an athlete than a receiver; he didn't play football as a freshman at South Carolina. The 5-foot-9, 196-pound receiver led the team in receiving yards in 2013. He has reportedly run a 4.34 second 40-yard dash, speed and quickness that was seen in the 2013 Outback Bowl. With 11 seconds left, Ellington raced past the Michigan defense on a seam route, caught the ball at the two, stopped on a dime, cut and scored the game-winning touchdown.
Colt Lyerla, TE, Oregon
At 6-foot-5, 250 pounds, Colt Lyerla became an internet sensation after posting a video of himself jumping 62 inches onto a Plyo-box. Lyerla also saw time at running back for the Ducks. All his abilities were put on display with under a minute left in the second quarter of the 2013 Fiesta Bowl when he ran 15 yards down field, caught the ball stiff armed a defender, lowered his shoulder and gained four more yards as five Kansas State defenders tried to tackle him. He's also a red zone threat, as 11 of his career 34 receptions have gone for six.
Dri Archer, RB/WR, Kent State
While Archer isn’t big by running back standards -- 5-foot-8, 175 pounds -- he more than makes up for that in vision, speed and agility. Archer was limited to 10 injury-filled games as a senior, but still managed to average 7.8 yards on 68 carries. As a junior, he ran for 1,429 yards on 159 carries and led the team with 39 receptions for 561 yards. When asked as a junior about his 40-yard dash time, Archer said, "My average is 4.27, but my best is a 4.21."
De'Anthony Thomas, RB/WR, Oregon
Prior to enrolling in Eugene, Oregon, Thomas was well known on the track circuit in high school, posting the fastest 200 meters by a prep in the nation at 20.61 seconds. That speed translates to the gridiron as he averaged 7.8 yards per carry over his collegiate career. In three years, the "Black Mamba" averaged a touchdown every 8.68 touches as a rusher and receiver and scored 14 career touchdowns of 30 yards or more. Thomas also provides versatility in the kick game with four career returns for touchdowns.
Paul Richardson, WR, Colorado
Richardson was a high school teammate of receivers Marqise Lee (USC) and Robert Woods (Buffalo) and went to Colorado because of his size. At 6-foot-1, 170 pounds Richardson is light, but he posses the deep play speed to stretch the field. Against Oregon Oct. 5, 2013, against future NFL corners Ifo Ekpre-Olomu and Terrance Mitchell, Richardson went off for 134 yards on five catches. His speed was evident on Colorado's first offensive play; Richardson ran an out and up, beating Mitchell handily for a 56-yard gain.