With the NFL Combine just days away, all eyes will be watching to see if another record is broken. This is an event for the best college players in the country to show off their unbelievable physical gifts and talents. If they do break a record, then expect to hear their name a whole lot more come draft night. Here are the current record holders in 4 different workouts that all positions participate in. I’ve gathered their data from NFL.com.
40 yard dash: John Ross WR 4.22 seconds
Ross had a great career at the University of Washington, being named All-Pac 12 in his junior season. He came into the combine with big expectations and he blew them away. Ross ran a 4.22-second 40-yard dash breaking Chris Johnson’s record. It catapulted him to stardom, he suddenly became an NFL sensation. The Bengals like everyone else were tantalised by his speed and ended up taking him 9th overall in the 2017 NFL Draft.
However, injuries would plague his rookie season. He made his NFL debut in a TNF game vs the Texans and had one carry which he fumbled. After this Ross wouldn’t appear in another game all season, which was a decision vehemently criticised by Bengals fans towards former head coach Marvin Lewis. Last season, was much better for the former Washington Huskie wideout. Ross didn’t show off his blinding speed off too often but he improved his overall game to the tune of 210 yards and 7 touchdowns. With a new head coach and offensive co-ordinator things hopefully are looking up for Ross.
Bench Press: Stephen Paea DT 49 reps of 102kg
Paea was born in New Zealand and moved to the US when he was 16. He played his high school football in Utah but was deemed too small by most Divison 1 schools, so he enrolled at Snow College in Ephraim. He improved so vastly that by his second year he transferred to Oregon State. Here Paea’s play got better and better, as a junior he was named first team All-Pac 10 and received the Morris Trophy for the best defensive lineman in the Pac-10. At the combine he bewildered everyone with an astonishing 49 reps on the bench press.
In love with his strength and play in college, the Chicago Bears took Paea with the 53rd pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. His NFL career got off to an amazing start when he recorded a safety on his NFL debut. He would then carve out a solid career more as a run stuffer on the inside, playing for the Redskins, Browns and Cowboys as well as the Bears. Paea announced his retirement from the NFL in 2017. He retired with 129 tackles, 14 sacks, 3 forced fumbles and 6 pass deflections as well as many admirers because of his incredible journey.
Vertical Jump = Chris Conley WR 45 inches
Conely played at the University of Georgia for 4 years accruing 76 catches for 1,938 yards and 20 touchdowns. He was seen as one of the better wide receivers entering the 2015 NFL Draft. But his stock improved dramatically during the Combine, where he had a monster day. Conley tied for third amongst wide receivers in the 40-yard dash, forth among them in the bench press, his broad jump was second best as well as amongst wide receivers and he set a new record in the vertical leap at 45 inches. For reference that’s as high as the average male emperor penguin!
Conley was taken in the third round by the Kansas City Chiefs with the 76th pick. Since then he blossomed into a productive player for an explosive Chiefs offence. Last season with Patrick Mahomes as his quarterback, Conley recorded a career-high 5 touchdowns. In an offence with so many weapons, he is a solid player.
Broad Jump = Byron Jones CB 12 feet 3 inches
As a productive player at the University of Connecticut, who played at both safety and cornerback. Byron Jones was given an invite to the 2015 NFL Combine. He wasn’t particularly known to anyone outside of the northeast, as he was ranked as the 25th best cornerback by NFL.com before the Combine. But when he set a new combine record as well as an unofficial world record with a broad jump of 12 feet, 3 inches. Jones became the talk of the league and he was flying up mock draft boards.
He flew all the way up in the draft too, as the Cowboys selected him 27th overall in the 1st round. Since then, he had in my opinon been misused in the Cowboys defensive scheme. He’d been put at safety until Kris Richard was hired to be their defensive backs coach. Richard saw his potential, putting Jones at corner and it paid off. Jones was named to first Pro Bowl and was also named 2nd team All-Pro.
Image from www.seattletimes.com
Alex Riley is a 49ers fan who’s followed the game since 2010, He’s currently at the University of Leicester. You can find him on Twitter at @NFLRiley and his blog at www.rileynfl.wordpress.com