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NFL Combine 2011: RB Speed Scores

Last year at this time I had my eyes firmly focused on the Running Backs at the combine. We were going to have to replace a legend after all. This year, at most the Chargers will do is replace their faux "Franchise Player" in Darren Sproles. Not quite as sexy, but no reason to avert our gaze. One of the things I brought up a bunch last year was Speed Scores. This is a stat developed by Football Outsiders' writer Bill Barnwell and he explains its purpose in this Washington Post article. The combine ends up producing a blinding amount of numbers coming from all sorts of drills, so it's fun to think that some of those numbers have some predictive power. So, let's go down that path and take a look at the speed scores for this year's crop. As a rule of thumb remember: 100 Speed Score (okay), 110 Speed Score (good), 120 Speed Score (great).

Prospect College Weight 40 time Speed Score
Anthony Allen Georgia Tech 228 4.54 107
Armando Allen Notre Dame 199 N/A N/A
Matthew Asiata Utah 229 4.77 88
Damien Berry Miami 211 4.59 95
Allen Bradford USC 242 4.58 110
Delone Carter Syracuse 222 4.56 103
John Clay Wisconsin 230 4.77 89
Graig Cooper Miami 205 4.63 89
Noel Devine West Virginia 179 N/A N/A
Darren Evans Virginia Tech 227 4.58 103
Mario Fannin Auburn 231 4.38 126
Alex Green Hawaii 225 4.53 107
Jamie Harper Clemson 233 4.58 106
Roy Helu Nebraska 219 4.42 115
Kendall Hunter Oklahoma St. 199 4.53 95
Mark Ingram Alabama 215 4.58 98
Taiwan Jones E. Washington 194 N/A N/A
Mikel Leshoure Illinois 227 4.56 105
Dion Lewis Pitt 193 4.57 88
Derrick Locke Kentucky 188 4.4 100
DeMarco Murray Oklahoma 213 4.41 113
Bilal Powell Louisville 207 N/A N/A
Stevan Ridley LSU 225 4.67 95
Jacquizz Rodgers Oregon St. 196 4.64 85
Evan Royster Penn St. 212 4.61 94
Brandon Saine Ohio State 220 4.43 114
Da'Rel Scott Maryland 211 4.34 119
Vailala Taua Nevada 213 4.62 94
Daniel Thomas Kansas State 230 N/A N/A
Jordan Todman Connecticut 203 4.4 108
Shane Vereen California 210 4.5 102
Johnny White UNC 209 4.56 97
Ryan Williams Virginia Tech 212 4.55 99

Some of the prospects I've mentioned as being Sproles replacements are: Noel Devine, Mario Fannin, Kendall Hunter, Derrick Locke, Brandon Saine and Jacquizz Rodgers. Devine didn't run, so I don't know what to think about that. Mario Fannin stole the show and may have significantly improved his stock (he was thought of as a later round pick). Kendall Hunter made himself look undraftable. Locke did okay for himself. Saine has been putting on weight and keeping his speed, which impresses by itself, but also keeps him viable after being a backup as a Buckeye. And then we come to one of my favorite collegiate players in Jacquizz Rodgers, who looked fast on Saturdays but was incredibly slow at the combine. I need to rethink some things there.

RB Speed Scores are generated, and researched, by Football Outsiders.