The defensive linemen and linebackers went through on-field drills on Sunday, and there are plenty of things to take away from it. The 40-yard dash is the sexy number, but the 10-yard split on the run holds some value.
Few players run a straight line 40 yards in an NFL game, and any that do run it are wearing pads. If a defensive lineman is running 40 yards and his team has not just recovered a turnover, something has gone very wrong. However, the 10-yard split can offer some insight into explosiveness. An edge rusher edge needs explosiveness to beat a tackle, particularly as he develops a bull rush, spin, or other weapon(s) for his pass rush arsenal.
Myles Garrett had an impressive 40 time of 4.64, but he also had a great 10-yard split. He clocked in at 1.63, which was third among players weighing 250 pounds or more. I say that much because some players that played defensive end in college are entirely too light to do the same in the NFL. They do their Combine workout with the defensive linemen, but they are more likely to end up in a linebacker role. Some might put on enough weight, but I figure it’s easiest just to go with 250 for comparison in this case.
UCLA’s Takk McKinley weighed in at exactly 250 pounds, and led the 10-yard split at 1.61. Florida Atlantic’s Trey Hendrickson (266 pounds) came in second at 1.62. Myles Garrett (272 pounds) was third at 1.63. Charles Harris (Missouri - 253 pounds), Ifeadi Odenigbo (Northwestern - 258 pounds), and Solomon Thomas (Stanford - 273 pounds) all clocked in at 1.66 seconds.
Two other measures of explosiveness can be seen in the vertical jump and broad jump. Being able to jump from a standing position does not mean you can get past NFL offensive tackles to get to the quarterback, but it is another way to measure what a player can bring to the table.
Myles Garrett led the way in the vertical jump, and was second in the broad jump. One player who finished well in all the “explosive” categories was Temple linebacker Haason Reddick. He was first in broad jump, third in vertical, and second among all defensive linemen in the 10-yard split. It is worth noting however that he measured in at 6’1, 237 pounds. He might get pass rush work, but he will not be a defensive end in the NFL.
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