Alabama Football: Crimson Tide players with scorching Combine times


NFL teams searching for speed were impressed with the times achieved by several former Alabama football players at the NFL Draft Combine.

In the Saban-Era, Alabama football has been blessed with speed. Football coaches like to say speed can’t be coached, akin to basketball coaches saying “you can’t coach tall.” The common perception is that both height and speed are blessings given, rather than developed physical traits.

Alabama football strength and conditioning coach Scott Cochran and his college and professional football counterparts have a different opinion about speed. They are sure well-designed and executed physical training can make players faster. A player being fast or slow is probably innate but getting faster is a byproduct of training. At the 2018 NFL Draft Combine, Alabama football players exhibited an abundance of speed.

The Crimson Tide had more Combine invites than any other school. There were 14 former Alabama football players participating in Indianapolis. Ohio State had 11 invitees, Georgia and LSU had 10 former players each.

Combine fastest 40 was 4.32

The fastest players at the 2018 Combine were cornerbacks, led by three guys who turned in 4.32, 40’s: Denzel Ward (Ohio State); Donte Jackson (LSU); and Parry Nickerson (Tulane). The Alabama football trio of corners was not far behind. Tony Brown led the way at 4:35, followed closely by Anthony Averett at 4.36 and Levi Wallace at 4.48 seconds. Speaking of Wallace, check out his impressive leap during drills.

Fastest among the wide receivers was former LSU player D.J. Chark at 4.37. Alabama football’s measurement of 40-times is normally very close to Combine results. Both Robert Foster and Calvin Ridley were timed at sub-4.4 multiple times in their Crimson Tide careers. They were a tad slower at the Combine. Foster hit a 4.41 and Ridley turned in a 4.44. Ridley has bulked up some since the national championship game which might explain the difference.

Upticks for some former Crimson Tiders

Robert Foster’s overall Combine performance led to an uptick in interest by some NFL teams. Another player that improved his draft possibilities was Bo Scarbrough. At 233 pounds, Bo ran an impressive 4.52. Bo also turned in the top broad jump for running backs at 10-feet-9-inches and he was second in the vertical jump at 40 inches.

Minkah Fitzpatrick reinforced his status as a Top 10 pick in the Draft by running a 4.46. His broad jump was also impressive at 10-feet-2-inches. Due to a sore hamstring, Ronnie Harrison did not run but is expected to do so on Wednesday at the Alabama football Pro Day. Rashaan Evans and Shaun Dion Hamilton did not run either. Evans, who will run at Pro Day, showed his varied skills during drills. NFL teams are pleased he can play inside or outside linebacker.

Speed is relative to size when comparing players. At 297 pounds, Da’Shawn Hand helped his draft prospects by running a fast 4.84. Even more noteworthy was the 4.91 run by Da’Ron Payne. Take a look at the 311 pound Payne in his 40-yard sprint.

The Combine speed winner was probably Shaquem Griffin from UCF. The outside linebacker ran a 4.38 40-yard dash. That was the fastest time for a linebacker at the Combine in 15 years.

Next: 30 Great Tide Players who were 3-Star Recruits

The 14 Tide players at the Combine will be joined by other future NFL hopefuls at the Tide’s Pro Day on March 7th. Shaun Dion Hamilton, still recovering from his injury, is limited but Evans and Harrison need to turn in good 40 times.