Not So Fast!

Last week, Michigan’s wide receivers coach was quoted as saying, “Speed is overrated.”

More important than a good 40-yard dash time, Jeff Hecklinski told, is size and sure hands.

“When he walks through that door, he should look like a Michigan wide receiver,” Hecklinski said. “That thought, when a kid walks in and you say, ‘Does he look like a Michigan Man?’ That’s important to us.”

At least one Ohio State assistant seemed to disagree.

Speed Kills

So to settle the debate, I thought I’d turn to results from the NFL combine. No, this is not scientific. Obviously, a receiver with Peyton Manning throwing to them is going to be better than one trying to catch passes from Johnny No-Arm. If you’re drafted by the Steelers, you’ll probably be developed better than, say, a wideout who ends up in Oakland.

That being said, here are the top performers at wide receiver since 2006…

Jacoby Ford (Clemson): 4.28
Yamon Figurs (Kansas State): 4.30
Darrius Heyward-Bey (Maryland): 4.30
Jason Hill (Washington State): 4.32
Chad Jackson (Florida): 4.32
Mike Wallace (Mississippi) 4.33
Johnny Knox (Abilene Christian): 4.34
Willie Reid (Florida State): 4.34
Devin Aromashodu (Auburn): 4.35
Desean Jackson (California): 4.35
Calvin Johnson (Georgia Tech): 4.35
Mike Walker (Central Florida): 4.35
Travis Benjamin (Miami): 4.36
David Clowney (Virginia Tech): 4.36
Stephen Hill (Georgia Tech): 4.36

It’s also worth noting that Alabama’s Julio Jones finished just outside this list, as he ran a 4.39.

So based on Yamon Figurs NFL career, you might say that speed is overrated. However, Calvin Johnson and Mike Wallace would seem to prove otherwise.

In any case, another class of draft hopefuls are headed to the NFL combine this week, looking to get their professional lives off to an, ahem, fast start.


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