*Editor’s Note: As of 2 p.m. on Thursday, February 19, several sources attending the NFL Combine informed STACK that the fastest prospects will not be winning a Porsche, but instead receive a $100,000 prize. This hasn’t yet been confirmed by Adidas.
Adidas upped the ante at this year’s NFL Combine by offering a custom Porsche 911 Carrera to the three prospects who run the fastest times in the 40-Yard Dash.
Only prospects who sign an endorsement deal with adidas prior to testing at the Combine are eligible for the Porsche grand prize. The custom sports cars feature a Cheetah graphic pattern mirroring adidas’s new UNCAGED adi-zero 5-Star 40 cleat.
This souped-up Porsches are attention getters, but they might not be as flashy as the 40 times the following prospects will post on the turf at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
White is one of the top-ranked wide receivers in this year’s draft, and his 40 time could define his draft stock.
According to ESPN NFL Draft analyst Todd McShay, if White can run in the 4.4 range, “he could be the first receiver drafted and go in the top 10.”
The West Virginia product prepared for the Combine at EXOS-Arizona under the direction of Nick Winkelman, the renowned performance coach who has trained prior first-round wideouts, including Odell Beckham Jr., Julio Jones and Demaryius Thomas.
White is one of the only prospects on this list who inked a deal with adidas prior to the start of the Combine.
University of Miami WR Dorsett possesses a size-speed combination similar to that of Brandin Cooks, the 2014 first-round receiver who ran the 40 in 4.33 seconds and claimed the $100,000 cash prize from adidas last year.
Dorsett finished the season with just 36 catches—17 of which were for gains of 20 yards or more.
During a pre-Combine teleconference, NFL Media analyst Mike Mayock said that Dorsett “might run sub-4.3 [in the 40]. ” Mayock commented, “He flies and he’s gotten more consistent with his hands and route-running. This kid can play and pick the top off any zone.”
The Ohio State WR averaged 28.2 yards per catch in 2014, and more than 54 percent of his catches went for 25 yards or more.
Following the national championship game, Smith landed in San Diego to train at the EXOS facility at SKLZ-HQ, where he focused on refining the technical aspects of the 40-Yard Dash.
“I’ve ran track all my life, so I’ve got the gist of it,” said Smith, who competed in the jump events at Ohio State. “It’s really the technical things with my start. That’s what I’m focusing on.”
Only twice since 2006 has a running back recorded the fastest 40 time among all position groups at the Combine. The 4.24-second time posted in 2008 by Chris Johnson still stands as the fastest official time. Dri Archer of Kent State recorded a time of 4.26 seconds last year.
Gordon, who played at Wisconsin, is drawing comparisons to Jamaal Charles—“similar running styles, but Charles has more juice,” according to one NFL executive.
Charles may be more of a threat to go the distance, but Gordon possesses superb acceleration ability and straightaway speed to tear up the turf in the 40.
“He’s very strong, which equals him being very fast,” says Brent Callaway, performance director at the EXOS facility at SKLZ-HQ where Gordon prepped for the Combine. “It’s on a relatively light frame for his strength. He’s a guy who’s 215, 217 pounds, and he can fly down the track.”
Crowder deserves the “speed guy” moniker—his NFL.com profile page lists the Duke wideout at 5-foot-9 and 175 pounds.
He impressed at the Senior Bowl and wrote in his draft diary for USA Today Sports that his goal is to “get the best time in the 40.”
Crowder trained with Jason Riley, owner of the Performance Compound in Tampa, Florida, and Combine trainer to the fourth overall pick in last year’s draft, wide receiver Sammy Watkins.
With a “thoroughbred build” according his ESPN draft profile, Coates may be a dark horse candidate to run the fastest 40, due to his above-average height (6-foot-2) and long limbs for the WR position.
However, don’t count Coates out. The Auburn product was at his best running vertical routes, and he possesses outstanding top-end speed.
Others to watch
- Alex Carter, CB, Stanford
- Kaelin Clay, WR, Utah
- Rannell “Speedy” Hall, WR, UCF