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yuccaneers

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: February 08, 2008, 07:48:57 PM

This is a small cut out of a Bill Walsh article on scouting players. Talking about speed very interesting to everyone who thinks you need speed, While everyone is saying the Bucs need to draft Jackson, a player that is not getting much pub is Devin Thomas who is bigger at 6'2 212, but with better functional speed.

TEST: 40 YARD SPRINT
This is considered the universal measurable. It is the obvious measuring stick and the utility tool that everyone uses. When you refer to an athlete you typically refer to his 40-yard dash time. So often the conditions can make a difference in the times. Jerry Rice timed in 4.59 and was considered to have marginal speed for a starting NFL wide receiver by virtually everyone in the NFL. There were three or four teams -- including the Jets and the Cowboys along with the 49ers -- who rated him very highly. Other than that, I'm not sure anybody did, simply because of a 4.59 time.

So in a sense it is a crutch for an evaluator and it has been a crutch for scouts for many years because that's the one measurable that everyone acknowledges.

But the problem with the 40 is the game of football requires functional speed, not pure track speed. So functional speed is related to playing the game and responses to another moving object. Jerry Rice's functional speed is probably the very best in the history of football. But if you timed him in the 40, he would be over 4.5

Each year we hear about 4.1s, 4.2s, 4.3s and yet often these men are out of football in a year or two. So it's a universal utility measuring stick. At either extreme it is a viable measuring tool. A 4.4 is a viable tool because you know he is very fast. A 5.4 means that the man is very, very immobile. But a lot of the times that fit into the general mainstream can be deceiving.

If a person is looking for a 40 time out of an offensive lineman, they have to calibrate in a different way. What is good is to see how smoothly they run and what kind of body control and mechanics they have as they run 40 yards. But as far as the time itself, you can be deceived and confused because it is counterproductive in many ways.

We need to run the 40, but we must remind ourselves when we are talking about less than a tenth of a second in differentials, we are talking about the conditions of the track and how much training the athlete has with a track start. When you look at the 40s of 15 or 20 years ago, the times are slow. A big part was they were not on an ideal surface. They just ran if anybody asked them, on any length of grass or any form of field. They had not practiced the start. They would get into their football stance and start. And they had not rehearsed this as if they were preparing to run indoor sprints.

So in some ways the times get better and better, but they are less and less reliable in terms of functional playing speed.


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#1 : February 09, 2008, 09:10:31 AM

He'd be a nice pick-up in R2 if available, he had a nice season.

dbucfan

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#2 : February 10, 2008, 11:19:13 AM

Functional speed ignores how fast a player runs, and seeks to determine how fast he plays, as I recall.  And the last time a 40 time is important is the combine - which should tell us a lot..

\"A Great Coach has to have a Patient Wife, A Loyal Dog, and a Great Quarterback. . . . but not necessarily in that order\" ~ Coach Bud Grant

dbtb135

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#3 : February 10, 2008, 11:47:54 AM

I see what you're saying but Thomas having better functional speed than Jackson? Not taking into account Jackson's straight line speed, he's got much better short area burst than Thomas. Jackson is not just a Ted Ginn type long strider, he'll also do very well in the short shuttle which is plenty more functional in-game than a straight 40 yard run. His acceleration and change of direction are not as good as Hester's, whois really as good as it gets getting to ton end speed in a step and a half it seems, but pretty far up there. I don't know what it is, but people just seem to want to A) Hype up Jackson as the next Steve Smith or B) Slight what he brings to the table. He falls in the middle.

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#4 : February 10, 2008, 11:55:55 PM

He'd be a nice pick-up in R2 if available, he had a nice season.

He will be there in the 3rd round.

dbucfan

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#5 : February 11, 2008, 07:56:00 AM

I see what you're saying but Thomas having better functional speed than Jackson? Not taking into account Jackson's straight line speed, he's got much better short area burst than Thomas. Jackson is not just a Ted Ginn type long strider, he'll also do very well in the short shuttle which is plenty more functional in-game than a straight 40 yard run. His acceleration and change of direction are not as good as Hester's, whois really as good as it gets getting to ton end speed in a step and a half it seems, but pretty far up there. I don't know what it is, but people just seem to want to A) Hype up Jackson as the next Steve Smith or B) Slight what he brings to the table. He falls in the middle.

It is all in how the player utilizes his speed - can he use it to fit into a role, and beat other players - if not it is worthless - if so it is priceless - i.e. see Rice.

\"A Great Coach has to have a Patient Wife, A Loyal Dog, and a Great Quarterback. . . . but not necessarily in that order\" ~ Coach Bud Grant

alldaway

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#6 : February 11, 2008, 11:58:39 AM

Paris Warren is an example of functional speed.  With that said why even consider drafting a WR day one when you can find a whole batch of players with functioning speed on day 2? 

dbucfan

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#7 : February 11, 2008, 06:21:54 PM

Paris Warren is an example of functional speed. With that said why even consider drafting a WR day one when you can find a whole batch of players with functioning speed on day 2?

He looked like the poster boy for functional speed last preseason - let's hope he gets a chance to show he can play in the regular season and does as well

\"A Great Coach has to have a Patient Wife, A Loyal Dog, and a Great Quarterback. . . . but not necessarily in that order\" ~ Coach Bud Grant
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