Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

27 Feb 2010

Bruce Campbell Runs A 4.77 40-Yard Dash

Bruce Campbell (who, admittedly, has an awesome name) just blew up Twitter. Media members and even agent Drew Rosenhaus are all talking about Campbell, a 311-pound tackle from Maryland, because he just ran a 4.77 40-yard dash. (That's the best 40-yard dash time in the history of the Combine for an offensive lineman, apparently; our data only goes back to 1999, and while it's the fastest time ever through that timeframe, I'm guessing smaller offensive linemen outran Campbell.)

Either way, Rosenhaus says this locks Campbell in the top ten of the upcoming NFL Draft, even though Todd McShay had him at 23rd in his last mock draft. Should that be the case?

Not really. Campbell's already run a 4.79 in spring practice, and while doing it on the turf in Indy means a lot more than doing it on a friendly field on campus, there's not much of a relationship between 40 time and any metric of offensive line success at the pro level.

And what have the owners of previous great 40 times done? Limiting our pool to tackles that actually made it to the NFL and ran in under five seconds at the Combine, it's a mix of booms and busts.

Year Player 40 Time
2007 Allen Barbre 4.84
2009 Lydon Murtha 4.88
2005 Khalif Barnes 4.92
2007 Joe Thomas 4.92
2006 Eric Winston 4.94
2007 Jermon Bushrod 4.95
2006 Guy Whimper 4.96
2004 Adrian Jones 4.97
2004 Robert Gallery 4.98
2003 Jon Stinchcomb 4.99
2008 Jeremy Zuttah 4.99

Guards with great 40 times include Chris Chester, Richie Incognito, and Evan Mathis, none of whom have covered themselves in glory professionally.

Rosenhaus might be screaming out comparisons to Thomas or even Winston or Bushrod for the next few weeks, but there's also the possibility that he's more like Barnes or Gallery. In the end, we strongly doubt that running a good 40-yard dash at the Combine tells us much of anything about Bruce Campbell's future in the pros, good or bad.

Posted by: Bill Barnwell on 27 Feb 2010

72 comments, Last at 02 Mar 2010, 2:29am by Dave0


by Fan in Exile :: Sat, 02/27/2010 - 12:43pm

Insert Al Davis Joke here

by TomKelso :: Sat, 02/27/2010 - 8:33pm

Al Davis -- Evil Dead -- nah, nothing's coming - sorry.

by Raiderjoe :: Sat, 02/27/2010 - 10:59pm

Al Davis not dead yet. Has one more tirck in sleeve. key moves made in recent years. Going to pay dividens in 20010. Tomlinson out in sd. team re-up N Truner so you know not goign to reach full potential again . chefs and Brocnos both crap. afc west coming down to Raiders and Chargers this season. Raiders on upswing and going to overtake Chargers. Laugh now believe later on.

Heyward-Bey going to be weapon in 10. Murphy, Schilens, Miller, and higgins going to be good recieiving targets for J Russell of B Gradkowski or a different guy (maybe sign free agent or draft a rookie) depending on who win qb job. All 3 capable of directing offense to gerat heights.

Offensive line and defensaive lines need some work but Al Davis and front office henchmen going to get job doen this offseason. secondary good, linebackers good enough but can use some depth or maybe upgrade starting corpse a little. Punter all time great and kicker excelent.

by bomi3ster2 (not verified) :: Sat, 02/27/2010 - 11:29pm

"J Russell of B Gradkowski or a different guy (maybe sign free agent or draft a rookie) depending on who win qb job. All 3 capable of directing offense to gerat heights."

-Freaking Raiderjoe GOLD!

by Nathan :: Sun, 02/28/2010 - 12:59am

Wow this is vintage RJ. Classic. Love the outlook.

by billycurley :: Sun, 02/28/2010 - 10:54pm

"Going to pay dividens in 20010" - I'm pretty sure this is another indication that Al Davis is undead.

by BroncosGuy (not verified) :: Sat, 02/27/2010 - 9:52pm

Bruce Campbell Runs A 4.77 40-Yard Dash

Al Davis achieves sexual release.

Ok, it ain't highbrow, but its all I've got right now. Sophomoric humor aside, I do think the Raiders are likely to draft Campbell.

by jebmak :: Sat, 02/27/2010 - 12:53pm

What does that make his speed score?

Edited: I think that it is 120.15. He's the new Fridge!

by dk240t :: Sat, 02/27/2010 - 2:29pm


by miker (not verified) :: Sun, 02/28/2010 - 11:58am

Haha -- what would happen if some team tried to convert him to RB?

by Phil :: Sat, 02/27/2010 - 12:48pm

Good. Bad. I'm the guy with the fast 40 time.

by dk240t :: Sat, 02/27/2010 - 2:29pm

LOL! (Again)

by tuluse :: Sat, 02/27/2010 - 4:42pm


by Harris :: Sat, 02/27/2010 - 12:49pm

You'd think the drag on his chin would keep him from generating that kind of speed. Maybe it acted as a spoiler?

Also, when Campbell blows up a DE, do you think he stand over him and yells, "THIS IS MY BOOM STICK"?

Hail Hydra!

by Independent George :: Sat, 02/27/2010 - 5:27pm

I think "Hail to the King, baby!" would be more appropriate. Unless you meant something else by 'blow up'.

by Hurt Bones :: Sun, 02/28/2010 - 1:06pm

or maybe

"What's that? You can't believe you just got your ass kicked by a one-handed nut job? What's that? Oh, you think I'm your daddy! Listen up, shake and bake, I eat evil for breakfast and danger for dinner, so spread the word."

by Nathan :: Sat, 02/27/2010 - 1:04pm

PFT / Schefter says the RB from LSU ran a 4.22... unfortunately he's listed at 160 lbs.

by mjb :: Sat, 02/27/2010 - 6:17pm

That would be Trindon Holliday out of LSU. His official time was 4.34, he is a former track star and at best a KR/PR in the Darrin Sproles mold. Also, he was never more than a situational player while at LSU, and had a difficult time finding his way onto the field despite his speed.

by Temo :: Sat, 02/27/2010 - 1:14pm

I mean, Gallery is a pretty good guard now. That's something.

by DavidL :: Sat, 02/27/2010 - 1:19pm

Draft smart. Draft S-Mart.

by Jimmy :: Sat, 02/27/2010 - 1:33pm

When the Bears drafted Lance Louis in the seventh round last year Angelo pointed out that Louis' 4.75 40 time was the fastest he had seen by a 300+lbs lineman since Randal McDaniel ran a 4.78. Louis didn't go to the combine though. Obviously McDaniel would go into the defender eating monster category of blockers. As for Louis he hasn't done a thing yet although the Bears did keep him on the roster all year as opposed to trying to stash him on the practice squad. Oh and they like his nasty demeanor which must count for something because it isn't as though every single offensive line coach in the league doesn't trot that one out every time they are asked about a player who isn't going to get anywhere near the gameday lineup.

by Bright Blue Shorts :: Sat, 02/27/2010 - 1:49pm

How often do offensive linemen run further than 10 yards?

by Temo :: Sat, 02/27/2010 - 1:54pm

I'm kind of tired of this argument. It's a test to measure athleticism, and it's one of many, many tests.

So apparently this dude is really in shape and athletic. At least now we know that much.

by Theo :: Sat, 02/27/2010 - 1:58pm

No that's not what it means, it only means he can run forward pretty fast. Maybe he spent a month training with a sprint coach to run a good 40. Awesome. Doesn't help being a better lineman.

by Bright Blue Shorts :: Sat, 02/27/2010 - 2:18pm

I believe things like the short shuttle or vertical jump test are much more relevant to linemen. But the 40-yard dash just seems a truly awful measure for them because it has almost no relevance to the athleticism required in the position.

When you watch the Olympics they do breakdowns of speed for the 100-metre guys in each section of the race e.g. first 10 metres, next 50, last 40. Some guys just sprint away in the midsection, others in the last 40. Equally if Campbell has 4.77yard dash because he's really fast from 20-40 yards it's really, really meaningless where as if he's fast out of the blocks it's got some validity.

To me it would be better to test linemen over:
- 15-yards from a 3-point stance
- from a 3-point stance in the middle of the field pulling to the left/right out to a cone near the sidelines and then 10 yards upfield.
- 5 yards backwards!

by C (not verified) :: Mon, 03/01/2010 - 1:19pm

Shuttle drill - acceleration
you want to see their power... not even so much bench as squat
High jump
Lower body strength
Arm length
Ability to shuffle feet & move side to side

I am sick to death of the 40. Are we really to the point that we are talking about offensive lineman's 40 time? Quarterbacks 40 time? Does anybody care that Michael Vick ran a faster 40 than Tom Brady? Not only is Brady a much much better player, he's much much more difficult to sack.

The train of thought here isn't even on the same planet.

by Pat F. :: Sat, 02/27/2010 - 6:23pm

I defy you to explain how being able to run a good 40 could not mean he's "in shape and athletic," which is what Temo actually said. A 40 time is is one piece of information, among many, that gives an indication of how athletic a player is. Of course there's a lot more to being a good football player than pure athletic ability, but it sure helps.

by Theo :: Sat, 02/27/2010 - 6:38pm

I guess we agree. It says something. Not much, just something.
It doesn't measure the 'shape' and 'athleticism' that offensive linemen need.
I agreed that it means something, that he can train to run forward. But it doesn't say anything about his potential as a lineman.

by Temo :: Sat, 02/27/2010 - 8:37pm

But it doesn't say anything about his potential as a lineman.

Really, it doesn't mean ANYTHING? It must mean something, or they wouldn't bother holding the event. I mean, they don't make lineman catch passes or throw, or make WRs showcase their punting ability.

In general, the right amount of time and attention is paid by scouts to the appropriate measures. They know, more or less, exactly how much mind to pay for stuff like 40 yard time. And if it meant nothing to said scouts, then lineman wouldn't risk pulling a muscle or embarrassing themselves and just elect to not run it.

40 yard time doesn't mean much for O-Lineman. We all know this. Like I said, all it says is that he's in shape and athletic. We still know next to nothing about his ability to play football.

There's no need to post endlessly about "hey, a O-Lineman would never have to run that far on a football field anyway." It's just lazy criticism, and originates from football writers with no other story ideas writing the same crap for years and years around this time of year.

by Pat F. :: Sun, 02/28/2010 - 4:47pm

It doesn't mean much, of course, but I'd suspect OL prospects with higher natural athleticism are more likely to succeed at tackle, so it isn't entirely irrelevant.

by Eddo :: Sun, 02/28/2010 - 7:31pm

Right. All else being equal, I would think you'd prefer a lineman who ran a faster 40-yard dash, wouldn't you?

by Theo :: Sun, 02/28/2010 - 8:47pm

...or understand blocking schemes/have strong legs/have technique/have a stable private life/etc.
His 40 time is the least of my concerns.
But yeah, all thing being equal...

by Eddo :: Sun, 02/28/2010 - 10:18pm

The 40 time is just one piece of data; it's prudent to collect as much data as possible before drafting someone, wouldn't you say?

by Dave0 :: Mon, 03/01/2010 - 12:08am

if it's relevant. you could catalogue all prospective draftees favourite flavour of soup, but you wouldn't want to.

i'm not saying 40 time is *totally* irrelevant, but it might well fall below the level of utility such that you'd want to disregard it completely where linemen are concerned.

by Bright Blue Shorts :: Mon, 03/01/2010 - 3:59pm

Not if you're Malcolm Gladwell ...

by Bowl Game Anomaly :: Mon, 03/01/2010 - 4:07pm

Actually, Gladwell would probably say you should go to the combine but don't bring a stopwatch, and just draft the guy your gut tells you will be the best.

by roguerouge :: Sat, 02/27/2010 - 3:50pm

On special teams.

by mjb :: Sat, 02/27/2010 - 6:22pm

Offensive linemen routinely run further than 10 yards on screen passes, and when they pull on counter and trap plays. And that is also usually in a straight line horizontally on the field.

by Marko :: Sat, 02/27/2010 - 7:34pm

Well, they do when chasing DBs who are on their way to a potential pick six like Tracy Porter in the Super Bowl. Of course, they never catch up to the DB unless someone else slows him down.

by Theo :: Sat, 02/27/2010 - 1:55pm

So much for the '300+ pound guys running 40 times is ridiculous, they never run that on the field and says nothing about their ability to pass or run block'.

Thanks FO (Bill) for letting me know twitter is all over this. Thanks for showing how this fits with the other linemen who run 40's. Thanks.

by Raiderjoe :: Sat, 02/27/2010 - 2:16pm

good for him if run good 40 .

not gogign to help in rela game though unless pick up fumble and have open clear path to end zone. but at that time would have helmet and pads on so 40 time wouldn't be as good anywya.
why dont players wear helemt s and pads at combine? make it more relaistic. also fans dont want to see fat shirtless pigs like alabama Dt cody and the Tide from last year (dRafted by bengals). big man boobs flopping all over. not good on eyes

by Briguy :: Sat, 02/27/2010 - 2:53pm

Raiderjoe you just broke my funny, like that south park where Cartman saw something so funny he couldn't laugh at anything else anymore.

by Theo :: Sat, 02/27/2010 - 3:00pm

You blew a funny fuse.

by HostileGospel :: Sat, 02/27/2010 - 2:52pm

Trent Williams is credited by ESPN with a 4.82 40, which is faster than anyone on the list above. Bad luck for him to run it the same year as Campbell.

There's a place I want to be. It's the NovaCare Center. That's in Philadelphia. One NovaCare Way, where the Eagles practice and then they eat cafeteria food and they watch film and we eat and we have fun.

-Donovan McNabb

by Tim (not verified) :: Sun, 02/28/2010 - 8:20am

I wouldn't call it bad luck for Williams. This means it's less likely he gets stuck on the Raiders.

by Hurt Bones :: Sat, 02/27/2010 - 3:11pm

Rex Ryan "I like to watch the offensive lineman run the 40 because it's like 'Whoa! He finished!"


by Nathan :: Sat, 02/27/2010 - 3:12pm

I know it's all the rage to discredit the entire combine, it's metrics, and the 40 yard dash in particular.

A sprint measures how fast a human being is in a straight line. If you don't see how that's relevant to the sport of football I don't know what to tell you. Sure, there might be more meaningful tests, but c'mon.

These guys know way more about evaluating professional football talent than any of us ever will. They wouldn't do this shit if it was meaningless.

by AnonymousA (not verified) :: Sat, 02/27/2010 - 3:28pm

What utter garbage. I don't think this is the website for you.

The only guys who ever run in a straight line are receivers on 9 routes, and backs who've broken free. Even among WRs and HBs, straight-line speed is predictive, but not incredibly so. For an OL, it's meaningless.

Your appeal to authority is even more laughable. Half of professional sports is "tradition", aka "voodoo invented by athletes," who are not famous for their critical thinking and statistical analysis. Just look at what happened to baseball when academics stepped in. Sure, some managers still stress the importance of pitcher wins/losses, and some coaches still stress 40 times. That doesn't mean they're geniuses and everyone on FO is a moron, it just means they're ignorant.

by Theo :: Sat, 02/27/2010 - 5:19pm

I think, hope and assume your sarcasm meter is broken.
If not, Nethan has no idea what it means to be a football player, let alone a lineman.

by Nathan :: Sat, 02/27/2010 - 6:13pm

whoops should have used the sarc mark

by RickD :: Sun, 02/28/2010 - 9:48pm

In any athletic competition, speed is important. It's not the most important thing for an offensive lineman, but then again, nobody is saying that it's the most important thing for an offensive lineman.

If your offense is trying to run a rushing play where the offensive lineman is supposed to pull and get to the outside, it's pretty important for the lineman to run fast while going there. A lineman who is slower to get to the mark is less likely to be a useful blocker.

And yes, the same kind of consideration is important when considering a screen pass.

And if you really think speed running in a straight line doesn't correlate with basic speed, well, there's not much I can say to that.

by BT (not verified) :: Sat, 02/27/2010 - 3:22pm

Being a University of Maryland fan, this is a good pick me up after last season. In fact, Bruce Campbell is pretty much the only bright spot of last season...

by Dales :: Sat, 02/27/2010 - 5:04pm

And he has experience.

by Dan :: Sat, 02/27/2010 - 5:28pm

His official time is only a 4.85, not a 4.77. Slower than Allen Barbre!

by Jeff George (not verified) :: Sat, 02/27/2010 - 6:10pm

Maybe, just maybe my boys can protect the quarterback. Yeah, and I'm a Chinese jet pilot.

by R. Carney (not verified) :: Sat, 02/27/2010 - 6:45pm

It was a slow day at work, so I watched the combine all day. Campbell looked good, but Williams is more polished. Better, quicker feet, and the body of an offensive lineman. I've seen these physical freaks before (Entman, Mandarich) and they oftentimes don't pan out. The big winner of the day was Jimmy Graham. Fast, fluid, great hands, jumped OUT OF THE BUILDING. Looks like yet another basketball player turned tight end. A shit quarterbacks best friend for a St. Louis, Buffalo, or Cleveland (not in rd.1 of course) or just a good fit in Cincinnati, New England (gulp), or Carolina.

by R. Carney (not verified) :: Sat, 02/27/2010 - 6:46pm

PS I put very little stock into the combine.

by justanothersteve :: Sat, 02/27/2010 - 7:47pm

Considering Allen Barbre almost got Aaron Rodgers killed last year while whiffing at RT, all it really means is the guy can miss a block faster than other players.

by Raiderjoe :: Sat, 02/27/2010 - 8:03pm

lol at justanothersteve comment. ne of best comments on Fo this week

by johnmartinolive... :: Sat, 02/27/2010 - 9:28pm

I think they measure the time at 10, 20 and 40. The 10 is probably more relevant to O linemen. Campbell showed his athleticism throughout the day, which jives with his game tape. I'd say he is still more or less in the same spot. A raw guy with a lot of potential.

Each part of the combine is a piece of the puzzle, with the largest part of the puzzle overall being game tape.

by Bowl Game Anomaly :: Sun, 02/28/2010 - 1:00am

"Are all tackles from Maryland swift-footed braggarts?"
"Just me, baby."

Campbell to his QB:
"First you want to kill me, now you want to kiss me. Throw."

Klaatu! Veratta! Um, Neckbeard?

You know scouts, bunch of bitchy little girls.

by tuluse :: Sun, 02/28/2010 - 2:58am

Finally pancakes an end who's been giving him trouble all game.

"Who's laughing now, WHO'S LAUGHING NOW!"

by Packerpalooza (not verified) :: Sun, 02/28/2010 - 10:30am

Offensive linemen in today's game need quick feet. How do you measure that??

by Lola was a dude (not verified) :: Mon, 03/01/2010 - 6:08pm

In the case of Andre Smith, I believe a calendar was involved.

by Bridgeseller (not verified) :: Sun, 02/28/2010 - 11:26am

"If you any of you primitive screwheads even touch my quarterback...BOOM!"

by NY expat :: Sun, 02/28/2010 - 7:34pm

Doug Farrar just mentioned retired center LeCharles Bentley starting a site about offensive line play, and one of his first posts is about Campbell: http://o-lineworld.com/profiles/blogs/bruce-campbell-combines. He's pretty down on his play, but perhaps as might be expected for an ex-player, blames Campbell's coaching.

by Dean :: Mon, 03/01/2010 - 10:10am

I don't get the first line. What is so awesome about the name Bruce Campbell? If it was Earl Campbell, I could understand.

by Lola was a dude (not verified) :: Mon, 03/01/2010 - 6:11pm

I used to post helpful links like that for people, but then I realized that if someone can't figure out that their question can be answered in 10 seconds on Google, they also probably aren't going to bother to click on my helpful link.

by Nathan :: Mon, 03/01/2010 - 6:24pm
by Dean :: Mon, 03/01/2010 - 6:54pm

Thanks. Ultimately, the answer ended up being "some dude I've never heard of."

by Dave0 :: Tue, 03/02/2010 - 2:29am

gotta get out more, Dean