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NFL Combine drills explained: 40-yard dash

The 40-yard dash is arguably the most-hyped event of the NFL Combine, but it's still relatively meaningless.

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On the whole, the 40-yard dash is generally a poor way to evaluate NFL prospects. But it remains arguably the signature event of the NFL Combine.

Players are divided into position groups and move through the drills on their designated day. For the 40-yard dash, players are given two opportunities to run. Some teams take the better of the two times, whereas others average them.

Running back Keith Marshall recorded the best time last year, completing the exercise in 4.31 seconds. But that was the highlight of his season. He's yet to record a rushing attempt in Washington.

Running back Chris Johnson tied Rondel Menendez's record in 2008, when he finished the 40-yard dash in 4.24 seconds. Menendez set that mark in 1999, but he never played in a regular season game (Menendez retired in 2000 to take care of his ailing mother).

Last year, Adidas promised to hand out $1 million to any player who can break Johnson's and Menendez's mark. This year, a private island would be the prize for any participant who manages to break the record. The NFL hopefuls who are expected to post the strongest times are wide receivers John Ross, Speedy Noil, Kermit Whitfield and Chad Hansen, as well as defensive back Adoree' Jackson and running back Tarik Cohen.

Though it may appear a lot is riding on the 40-yard dash this week, players who perform poorly should always remember how Tom Brady's Combine went. Brady posted the slowest 40-yard dash time for any quarterback in history, running it at a snail-like pace of 5.28 seconds.

It's safe to say Brady's career has worked out pretty well since then.