It will, however, encourage lots of people to pick the Washington Huskies receiver in the upcoming NFL draft. We all knew Ross was fast, but 4.22 is ridiculous. At the end of his run, he pulled up injured and didn’t do another drill. Quite frankly, he didn’t need to anything else.
Rose was just one of the big winners at the combine. Here are the prospects that set themselves apart at the combine.
Projected top pick Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett put on a Jadeveon Clowney-like show. He leapt 41 inches in the vertical jump, threw up 33 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press and ran 4.64 in the 40-yard dash. Oh, lest I forget, he measured 6-foot-4, 272 pounds with over 35-inch arms.
Garrett is an old soul who has never been in trouble or displayed any character red flags. He played much of the 2016 season with a high ankle sprain after an Arkansas lineman cut-blocked him late in A&M’s win over the Hogs. Garrett had nowhere to go but down, given his lofty status heading into the combine, but he solidified his number one pick status. That’s a win.
Former Utah offensive tackle Garett Bolles is one of the best stories in this draft. He had a difficult early life, getting kicked out or suspended from five different schools as a teenager and even spent some time in jail. He was eventually kicked out of his house when he was in high school but was taken in by his former lacrosse coach under fairly strict guidelines. He turned his life around with the guidance of his guardians and served a two-year LDS Church mission in Colorado. Once back from his mission, he wanted to play more football, on defense, as he did in high school. The coaches at Snow College thought differently and made him an offensive tackle. Consequently, that decision helped make him a first-round prospect.
His performance at the combine locked in that first-round selection. The 6-foot-5, 297-pound tackle prospect ran 4.95 in the 40, the second best time for an offensive lineman in this combine. He registered a 9-foot, 7-inch broad jump, bested by only three other linemen since 2006.
Lost in the wake of John Ross’s record-breaking 40-yard dash was Ohio State’s offensive weapon Curtis Samuel. The Percy Harvin-like hybrid ran a startling 4.31-second 40 just moments after Ross completed his record run. He ran with the wide receivers, but could easily start at running back in the right situation at the next level. He averaged eight yards per carry and caught 74 passes last season.
There is concern by NFL coaches where exactly he’ll excel at the next level, but that 4.31 should force teams to figure it out quickly.
I walked into the bench press arena just as Georgia State receiver Robert Davis strode across stage. I had seen Davis on tape but was floored by how much he looked like a basketball player. The 6-3, 220-pound receiving prospect then threw up 19 reps of 225 pounds on the bench in front of the assembled crowd in the Indiana State Convention Center. The next day, he leaped 41 inches on the vertical jump, went 11-feet, 4-inches on the broad jump and then blazed a 4.44 in the 40-yard dash. He showed why, and how, he broke all of Albert Wilson’s (Kansas City Chiefs) receiving records at Georgia State.
Kansas State star defensive end Jordan Willis was the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year but many overlooked the Wildcat star given the lack of defensive firepower in the Big 12. As such, he did nothing but answer all the questions with an extraordinary workout. He ran 4.53 in the 40, threw up 24 reps on the bench, jumped 39 inches on the vertical, over 10 feet in the broad jump and his shuttle times were outstanding (6.85 seconds on the three-cone and 4.28 on the short shuttle). Former Kansas State All-American linebacker Mark Simoneau has trained Willis since his days in high school and did a fabulous job getting Willis ready for Indy.
Obi Melifonwu is one of my favorite names to say out loud and after what he did on the last day of the combine, we’ll all be saying his name in the coming years. The former Connecticut safety (yes, that’s correct, safety) measured 6-4, 219 pounds, ran a 4.40 in the 40 and put up 17 impressive reps on the bench. That wasn’t all either; he then started jumping. He bounded 44-inches on the vertical jump and 11-feet, 9-inches in the broad jump, both of which were combine highs for all positions. Keep in mind, he’s a safety and he should be a small forward, it appears.
The one player, though, that has completely dominated the offseason is Temple linebacker Haason Reddick. He ended a stellar career at Temple with an outstanding week at the Senior Bowl in Mobile. At the combine, the 6-2, 237-pound Reddick ran a true linebacker-best 4.52, jumped 36.5 inches in the vertical jump, 11-feet-plus in the broad jump and benched 225 pounds 24 times. His performance in Indianapolis solidified a first-round spot without question. The back half of the first-round teams will love his athleticism and versatility but his climb may have the attention of the top half of the first round teams as well.
Yet, it was Ross who set the standard with that 4.22 40-yard dash. The difference in Ross and others that flirted with Johnson’s record in prior years is that Ross is a true receiver. He can win from the inside as well as he can down the field on the outside. His injury history is a concern and at the end of his run, he did have an issue with his calf that shut down his workout. It’s hard to find a true comparison but if you mashed up Redskins star DeSean Jackson and former Steelers dynamo Santonio Holmes, you’d get Ross.
And, to think, he was that close to hearing his name called at the 2017 NFL draft from his private island.
John Harris contributes to the Washington Post’s NFL draft coverage. He is the sideline reporter and football analyst for the Houston Texans and owner of footballtakeover.com.