At the 2014 NFL Combine held in Lucas Oil Stadium of Indianapolis, there will be 335 draft hopefuls strutting their stuff for league scouts, general managers and coaches.
Ultimately, the players are broken up into position groups and go station-to-station, running through a series of drills designed to expose flaws and show strengths. One such drill, perhaps the most famous, is the 40-yard dash. Each player runs the 40-yard dash twice, with the best time being taken as the official one.
The times will range depending on position group; running backs and receivers hope to be around 4.4 seconds, and linemen try to crack 5.0. Although the long-term impact is hard to determine, draft stocks can at least temporarily skyrocket or tumble with an impressive performance in the 40-yard dash. Unheralded players can burst onto the scene and turn heads with a low 40-time. Conversely, players can disappoint with a slow time, leading draft pundits to question their speed. In the end, the 40-time may not have a massive impact on where a player is drafted, but it certainly draws plenty of attention.
Last year, one of the stars at the combine and in the dash was LSU defensive back Tyrann Mathieu, and for good reason. In 1999, electronic timing was introduced to the combine, making the times more legitimate and impossible to exaggerate. Since then, the fastest times belong to Rondel Menendez and Chris Johnson of the Tennessee Titans, who both ran a 4.24. Randy Moss wasn't far off the pace at 4.25 seconds.
The all-time record belongs to Bo Jackson, who reportedly ran a blinding 4.12 40-time in 1986 when coming out of the University of Auburn.