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Elway built Broncos with speed, but not 40 speed


As John Elway built the Broncos’ roster, he emphasized speed in the players he drafted. Just not the kind of speed that’s measured in shorts and T-shirts in Indianapolis in February.

Instead, Elway looked for speed shown in pads in the fall. Elway told Peter King of that he scouts players by scrutinizing the tape to see how fast they play.

“Speed kills. But not 40 speed. Play speed. A guy’s 40 speed might be 4.8, but look at his instincts and how he reacts to plays—that might get his true speed down to 4.6,” Elway said.

Later this month, the football world will obsess about 40 times as a few hundred young players compete at the Combine. But Elway is right that the speed that really matters is the speed that shows up in the game, and that isn’t always the same as 40 speed.