This time last year, Jets LT Mekhi Becton turned heads at the NFL Scouting Combine with a 5.11-second 40-yard dash at 6-7, 363 pounds. CB Javelin Guidry clocked the second-fastest time among all players at 4.29 seconds. There won't be any hoopla around players who tested well this year without the Combine, but who would have been the Combine winners?
Auburn WR Anthony Schwartz, who told Albert Breer of MMOB he would have broken John Ross' record of 4.22 seconds in the 40-yard dash, seems the most likely candidate to take the crown in the 40 according to Dane Brugler of The Athletic.
"It has to be Schwartz," he said. "He also competed in track at Auburn. He ran track at the college level, high school level and he won internationally. That's the type of level that we're talking about. We have to remember part of the 40-yard dash is form and technique. These guys have a lot of time to prepare for it, but guys who have been running track their entire lives, they have a little bit of a leg up. A guy like Schwartz, who has competed at a high level in track for such a long time, it would've been natural for him to put his hands on the ground and burst out of his stance and finish."
Brugler added: "This guy was a nationally ranked sprinter in high school. He competed internationally. Anything under 11 seconds in the 100 meters is really good. He won the state championship in Florida in the 100 meters with a 10.07, which is just ridiculous. This guy can fly. It would've been great to see."
Brugler also said that Georgia cornerbacks Eric Stokes and Tyson Campbell would have clocked fast times.
"Both were 100-meter champions in high school," he said. "It would've been great to see both of these guys run. They're both over 6-0, they both have outstanding speed. That's why we're talking about them as possible top-50 guys. A lot of speed at that position and Stokes and Campbell are two of the fastest."
If the 40-yard dash is an indicator of straight-line speed, the three-cone drill measures quickness. While we'll never know for certain, Michigan Edge Kwity Paye would have been the most likely to have one of the quickest times.
"Bruce Feldman with The Athletic does his Freaks List every offseason," Brugler said. "[Paye] came in at No. 1 on the list. The biggest reason was his three-cone drill at 6.37 seconds at 270 pounds. I have a hard time believing that he's going to run a 6.37. To put that into perspective, the best three cone from a pass rusher in recent memory was Von Miller and he was like a 6.70. ... Even if it's close to that, 6.50 or 6.60, that's a remarkable time. I wish we could've seen that."
Feldman wrote of Paye, whom Mel Kiper pegged going to the Jets at No. 23 in his latest mock draft: "Paye's 40 is also moving at 4.57, with a solid 34-inch vertical and 30 reps on the bench press. Paye's 40 time and 4.15 pro shuttle time are better than any D-lineman or edge player who tested at the 2020 combine. His 11.3 time in the 60-yard shuttle is also elite."
Breer published an article earlier this week that included would-be winners for almost every field drill. The players were UCLA RB/WR Demetric Felton (short shuttle), Illinois WR Josh Imatorbhebhe (vertical jump), Oklahoma State WR Tylan Wallace (broad jump) and Georgia G Ben Cleveland (bench press), who predicted he'll break the Combine record of 49 reps at 225 pounds set by DT Stephen Paea in 2011.