When scouting quarterbacks at the combine, the Arizona Cardinals need to review the skills, not the speed
To preface the idea that it is more important that quarterbacks posses skills more so than speed, let’s not pretend we’d like one for the Arizona Cardinals that runs a 8.5 40-yard. No, but the idea that the difference between a 4.6 and 4.8 is the difference between a job or not is ridiculous.
People love the 40 at the NFL Scouting Combine. Why? I get it, you want speed, especially at skill positions. But this is speed from point to point. The 40 doesn’t measure breakaway speed.
When it comes to quarterbacks, the skills are more important. Can the guy throw the ball accurately? Is he smart? Can he read defenses? That’s what I would want to know.
USC’s Sam Darnold ran a 4.85. JT. Barrett from Ohio State ran a 4.70. Ok, so Darnold is a step slower running 40 yards. But who has the stronger arm? Who can read defense’s better? For the record, we won’t know more about Darnold’s arm in the combine as he has decided not to throw.
I think we can safely say we all know about Darnold’s arm. But his 4.85 versus Barrett’s 4.70 isn’t going to scare anyone off. Darnold is the better choice because of his skill and arm.
We all should take the combine results with a grain of salt. I’d be more interested to see how the off the field stuff went. How did he interview? Does he have a fundamental understanding in reading NFL defenses?
Speed is more important at the receiver and running back positions. Even then, it shouldn’t be treated as the end all to be all. Some of the best runners in the game start off slow but can break tackles and then get a burst of speed you can’t measure in a 40.
As far as the quarterback goes, if he can throw downfield and do it accurately, then let’s see what he can do. If he runs a 4.4 40 but couldn’t hit water if he fell out of a boat, then what good is he to a team as a quarterback?