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Small-school players can't run the 40 fast enough for NFL scouts in a hurry

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Already think too much is made of 40-yard dash times? Then Jackson State's pro day is going to make you mad. A total of 20 athletes prepared, braved the cold and steadied their minds to try and show off for a cadre of NFL and CFL scouts before being told they were done after the 40. All because they couldn't run faster than a 4.50.

That's the mark teams set for players. If they didn't reach it they were done. No position drills, no chance to make up for a slower-than-expected dash, that's it. Dreams for the future shattered after a single event.

"They were cutting people after the 40, so I guess if your time wasn't perfect, they were cutting you," former JSU wide receiver Tobias Singleton said.

"I was looking forward to doing everything. I thought it was going to be a regular pro day."

Only one player of the 20 hopefuls was allowed to continue with a regular workout, West Alabama wide receiver Stephanio McNair. He barely made it through with a 4.50.

The Jackson State pro day comprised of players from many neighboring schools. Guys who won't hear their name on draft night. They were hoping to impress scouts and latch on as undrafted free agents. Being cut after the 40 greatly diminishes their chances of finding a home on an NFL practice roster. Many were crestfallen. Tobias Singleton took it in stride.

"It's a business," said Singleton, who clocked an unofficial best 4.6 and had several of his family members attend. "You can't go into every situation looking for something to be good. It's an eye-opener. Now I know what I have to do."

Now they'll need to try and find back doors into the NFL. What's more astonishing about the harsh cutoff is how many players couldn't cut it with the same restrictions applied. Heck, Victor Cruz ran a 4.52 at his pro day in 2010 before running a 4.47.

h/t Clarion Ledger

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