Football is a game of inches. While the NFL scouting combine is not a game, it still comes down to minuscule measurements.
College players across all positions head to Indianapolis each year as part of their audition for the NFL. The combine gives prospects a chance to meet with team staff members face to face, but those teams are also locked into the performance of those players in certain drills.
The NFL combine record books are full of astonishing feats. From lightning-quick sprints to gravity-bending jumps, these record holders have made their mark at the combine, even if it didn’t fully translate to professional performance.
With the combine kicking into high gear this week, let’s look back at some of the historic numbers posted in Indy:
What is the 40-yard dash record at the NFL combine?
- John Ross, WR, 2017: 4.22
- Chris Johnson, RB, 2008: 4.24
- Dri Archer, RB, 2014: 4.26
- Marquise Goodwin, WR, 2013: 4.27
- Four players: 4.28
John Ross ran onto the national scene in 2017 when he broke the combine’s 40-yard dash record previously held by Chris Johnson. The Washington wide receiver posted an eye-popping time of 4.22 seconds, helping him become a top-10 selection by the Cincinnati Bengals.
Electronic timing was introduced to the combine in 1999, so someone conceivably could have gone faster at the combine. With the technology and records available, Ross is the fastest prospect in combine history.
What is the bench press record at the NFL combine?
- Stephen Paea, DT, 2011: 49
- Mitch Petrus, OL, 2010: 45
- Jeff Owens, DT, 2010: 44
- Dontari Poe, DT, 2012: 44
- Tank Tyler, DL, 2007: 42
- Russell Bodine, C, 2014: 42
- Harrison Phillips, DT, 2018: 42
Stephen Paea showed off his ridiculous strength at the 2011 combine, shattering the record on the bench press. The defensive tackle from Oregon State lifted 225 pounds 49 times, giving him the most reps of any player at the combine since 1999.
The Chicago Bears took Paea in the second round of the 2011 draft, and he played seven NFL seasons across four organizations.
What is the vertical jump record at the NFL combine?
- Donald Washington, CB, 2009: 45.0
- Chris Conley, WR, 2015: 45.0
- Byron Jones, CB, 2015: 44.5
- A.J. Jefferson, CB, 2010: 44.0
- Obi Melifonwu, S, 2017: 44.0
- Juan Thornhill, S, 2019: 44.0
Donald Washington and Chris Conley share the record for greatest vertical leap at the NFL combine. Washington was the first player to get to 45 inches in the exercise at the combine, and Conley went on to match the number six years later.
To put that feat into perspective, Keon Johnson (48.0 in 2021) and Kenny Gregory (45.5 in 2001) are the only players to go beyond 45 inches in the vertical leap at the NBA combine.
What is the broad jump record at the NFL combine?
- Byron Jones, CB, 2015: 12 feet, 3 inches
- Obi Melifonwu, S, 2017: 11 feet, 9 inches
- Emanuel Hall, WR, 2019: 11 feet, 9 inches
- Juan Thornhill, S, 2019: 11 feet, 9 inches
- Miles Boykin, WR, 2019: 11 feet, 8 inches
Byron Jones was close to tying Washington and Conley in the vertical leap, but he is in a class of his own when it comes to the broad jump. The UConn cornerback jumped up draft boards in 2015 after setting the broad jump record at 12 feet and three inches, half a foot more than anyone else in combine history.
Jones’ jumping abilities drew the attention of the Dallas Cowboys, who drafted him 27th overall.
What is the three-cone record at the NFL combine?
- Jordan Thomas, CB, 2018: 6.28
- Jeffrey Maehl, WR, 2011: 6.42
- Buster Skrine, CB, 2011: 6.44
- Scott Long, WR, 2010: 6.45
- David Long, CB, 2019: 6.45
Oklahoma cornerback Jordan Thomas showcased his burst and change-of-direction ability with a record-setting three-cone drill in 2018. His 6.28-second mark was 0.14 seconds faster than the prior record held by Oregon wideout Jeffrey Maehl.
What is the 20-yard shuttle record at the NFL combine?
- Jason Allen, DB, 2006: 3.81
- Brandin Cooks, WR, 2014: 3.81
- Bobby McCain, CB, 2015: 3.82
- B.W. Webb, CB, 2013: 3.84
- Desmond Trufant, CB, 2013: 3.85
- Justin Simmons, S, 2016: 3.85
It’s a tight race at the top of the all-time 20-yard shuttle leaderboard. Tennessee defensive back did the drill in 3.81 seconds back in 2006. Nobody has beaten that number yet, but Brandin Cooks matched the time coming out of Oregon State in 2014 and several players have come within a few hundredths of a second.
What is the 60-yard shuttle record at the NFL combine?
- Shelton Gibson, WR, 2017: 10.71
- Brandin Cooks, WR, 2014: 10.72
- Avonte Maddox, CB, 2018: 10.72
- Buster Skrine, CB, 2011: 10.75
- Jamell Fleming, CB, 2012: 10.75
On top of tying the 20-yard shuttle record, Cooks held the 60-yard shuttle record for three years. In 2017, West Virginia wideout Shelton Gibson came along and beat Cooks out by 0.01.