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Leftovers & Links: Pride’s 40 disappoints, but former Notre Dame safety duo shine at combine

Troy Pride combine

Notre Dame defensive back Troy Pride runs a drill at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Sunday, March 1, 2020. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)


Aside from “Refrigerator” Perry, no NFL player succeeds entirely because of one skill or attribute. Nonetheless, one elite-level ability can change a career. Widespread expectations thought former Notre Dame cornerback Troy Pride would improve his draft stock with such a showcase.

Not to make too much of what is still an amazingly-fast 40-yard dash, but Pride’s 4.40-second dash at the NFL combine on Sunday fell well short of those expectations, even if it was the fifth-fastest among all defensive backs in Indianapolis. Before ending his sprinting career in early 2019, Pride set a personal record in the 100-meter dash in May of 2018 with a 10.50-second showing at the ACC Championships, joined by a 200-meter dash best of 21.16 seconds.

Converting a 100-meter dash to a 40-yard effort is an inexact science, the former having the luxury of space for peak speed to compensate for any lagging acceleration, but that history of raw, straight-line speed had the combine talking about Pride running in the low 4.3-range, if not even faster than that. Former Irish receiver Chase Claypool claimed to have placed dinner bets on Pride breaking 4.3, and Pride himself did little to dissuade those thoughts.

Instead, Pride ran a 4.4. Again, that is hard to fault, but given Pride’s calling card was supposed to be his rarely-matched speed, anything less than the best was going to be a disappointment and fail to fan the flames of Pride’s draft stock, currently projecting him as a mid-round pick in the April 23-25 draft. Pride’s three-cone drill time of 6.94 seconds placed him ninth among defensive backs, also not helping his April aspirations.

Alohi Gilman

Notre Dame defensive back Alohi Gilman prepares to run the 40-yard dash at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Sunday, March 1, 2020. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)


Former Notre Dame safeties Alohi Gilman and Jalen Elliott may have done themselves some favors in that three-cone drill, finishing in 6.81 and 6.87 seconds, respectively, good for second and fourth among defensive backs. Gilman’s 4.60-second 40 may have been a tick faster than expected from the physical safety, while Elliott’s 4.80 left significant room for improvement in an early April pro day in South Bend.

That may have solidified Gilman’s mid-to-late round status — something in the vein of fifth or sixth round — while Elliott likely cemented his spot toward the end of the draft.

Former Irish running back Tony Jones’ 4.68-second 40-yard dash on Friday did not much surprise anyone; Jones was never noted for his outright speed in college, even as he finished his career with an 84-yard exclamation point of a touchdown in the Camping World Bowl. To be blunt, none of Jones’ testing stood out positively, but that fits with the likelihood of him signing as an undrafted free agent next month.

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