I appreciate the fact that, when it comes right down to it, the NFL Combine is a ridiculous waste of everyone's time and energy. In that way your financial advisor is legally obligated to recite the disclaimer that past performance is no guarantee of future results, you can't discuss Combine results without mentioning that they're not indicative of whether a guy can play actual football. Then reference the obligatory list of workout warriors like Vernon Gholston, Mike Mamula, and all those busts Al Davis used to draft solely on the basis of their 40 times. [Rolls eyes in the direction of Darrius Heyward-Bey]
Still, in spite of all that, you can still appreciate the Indianapolis Kennel Club Show for what it is: A way to track the advance of human athletic performance. A way to quantify evolutionary progress, if that's not overstating the case too much. I mean, check out that 40 run by Louisville's Mekhi Becton. A 364 lb offensive lineman running a 5.11. Granted, running 40 yard sprints will never be in an NFL offensive tackle's job description. Yes, it's as irrelevant to his duties as having a submarine commander with a nice slapshot. But goddamn, if it's not still impressive that a guy that size is capable of that.
And since Force + Mass x Acceleration, it certainly can't hurt to have blocker who can deliver that when it comes to pulls and getting out front of screen passes. Fun fact: They're reporting that even with his size, his body mass index is at 17% body fat. Which is not only well below the average for his position, it's the number the Red Sox chose when the lied about Pablo Sandoval not being a big, fat fucking slob.
Becton was just one of several improbable results at the NFL company picnic so far. I've already mentioned Michael Turk, the absurdly jacked punter who can do 25 bench presses of his own body weight:
... which is two more than Rob Gronkowski did. He then followed it up by running a 4.79. So it's fair to start wondering if his skills are wasted at punter and just convert him to tight end.
Becton wasn't the only O-lineman to blow the scouts' collective nips off. Iowa's Tristan Wirfs ran not just the fastest time at his position, but also the fastest ever by a guy 320+ lbs, with an official 4.85:
The wide receiver group - you know, that position where being able to run really fast in a straight line for 120 feet is an applicable skill - has one of it's most remarkable classes the stopwatch crowd has ever seen. In all, 20 wideouts ran sub-4.5s, which is tied for the most ever. None more metahuman than Bama's Henry Rugg III, who runs like Barry Allen and leaps like the basketball standout he was:
And for all that, the guy who might be in the lead for Best in Show so far is Wisconsin's Jonathan Taylor, a 5-10, 226 lb running back who posted a 4.39. To put that in perspective, he's faster than three of the top wide receivers of our times:
Doesn't mean jack, blah blah, Not an indicator, yadda yadda, What the film tells you, blabbity, Number don't always translate to the field, mumble, mumble. Whatever. It's still amazing to watch what these guys are capable of and how much more superhuman they get with each passing year, regardless of position. Starting today, we get a look at the defensive players, and I for one can't wait to see more records fall. It's not football. It's the fucking NFL Combine.