If the NFL Combine is to be believed, maybe Tennessee wide receiver Justin Hunter would have been able to bring home a gold medal in London.
It's not surprising that Marquise Goodwin is having an incredible combine that's majorly boosting his draft stock: He showed his speed at the combine Sunday, running a 4.27 40-yard dash -- the best of any player in the combine and just .3 seconds off the record set by Chris Johnson. Goodwin's athletic exploits are well known, as he also has history as both a sprinter and a long jumper. He won two national titles for Texas in the long jump and qualified for the London Olympics, finishing 10th -- although his personal best jump of 8.33 meters would have been good enough to win gold.
So you'd think he'd be by far the best player at the NFL Combine at the broad jump, since both that and the event at which he proved himself to be the best person in the country -- of all ages, football player or not -- measure jumping far. But not quite: although he performed well, jumping 11 feet -- 132 inches -- that wasn't the top mark in the event.
When you look into it, it's not as crazy as it sounds.
First off, there's a distinction between the long jump common at pretty much any track and field event and the broad jump drill done at the combine. The one Goodwin did at the Olympics allows runners to take a running start, typically about 20 steps worth. Sprinters tend to do well at long jumping because of how fast one is going when they take off is hugely important as to how far they're going to go in the air -- you'll remember Carl Lewis getting sprinting golds while also winning four straight long jumping golds. And you land sprawled in the sand.
The broad jump at the combine, on the other hand, is done from a standstill to measure lower body explosiveness. And if one takes a step forward after landing, the measurement doesn't count, because from a football perspective, its a lot more important to see how good the player is at sprawling into sand. From a technique perspective, it's a lot different from long jumping. However, it's not surprising that Goodwin, a guy who has oodles of that lower body explosiveness the drill is supposed to measure, is good at both.
And it's also important to look at who bested him: Tennessee wide receiver Justin Hunter, who jumped 136 inches, four better than Goodwin. Hunter also had long jumping aspirations, winning a junior national title in 2010, but an ACL tear while playing football in 2011 prevented him from jumping, which cost him a chance at the Olympics. Hunter was a long shot -- his career-best was 26 feet, 1½ inches, about a foot and three inches short of the jump Goodwin made that earned him a ticket to London. Perhaps if it wasn't for the injury, Hunter could have qualified -- and maybe brought home a medal.
Regardless, both NFL prospects are good at jumping super far.