Chances are at some point during Super Bowl coverage, you saw Tom Brady's incredibly unfortunate photo from his turn at the NFL Combine. That's not the only notable item from his appearance in 2000: Brady ran a painfully slow 40-yard dash, as well. Brady is often noted for having the worst Combine performance of any starting quarterback in the league, and yet, the Patriots' recent Super Bowl win has spurred plenty of "greatest quarterback ever?" conversations.
While instances like this might leave some questioning the importance of the Combine as a predictor of professional play, you have to admit: it's still pretty entertaining.
With the Combine starting up next weekend, it got me thinking: how have some of our favorite Buffalo Bills measured up in their Combine performances? Let's take a look at a few recent and notable performances.
Marquise Goodwin: You don't earn a nickname like Flash for nothing. Goodwin clocked an impressive 4.27-second 40 time, earning him the top spot for the event during his appearance in 2013 (he is currently tied for the third-fastest 40 time in the event's history). He also nabbed the top spot in 2013 for the broad jump (11 feet). His outstanding performance came as no surprise when you consider the success he experienced in track and field while at Texas. In combine analysis, Goodwin drew comparisons to Mike Wallace and T.Y. Hilton. Considering nagging injuries, have we been unable to see Goodwin's full potential?
Sammy Watkins: While Watkins didn't earn top performer in any of his drills, it should come as no surprise that he still earned incredibly strong marks across the board. With a 4.43 40 time, his speed did not go unnoticed and was in fact noted for having "world-class track speed." Watkins was also commended for his soft hands and big-play ability. Weaknesses noted included unpolished routes, immaturity, and ball security - although those seem to have been improved since his Combine appearance, as in his rookie season Watkins had only one fumble on 65 receptions.
Marcell Dareus: Who would have thought that Dareus would run a faster 40 time than Tom Brady? Dareus clocked in at 4.93, but as you can imagine, that's not the only thing that impressed scouts. His strength and feet were highly impressive, and he drummed up talk of potentially being the first-overall pick in the draft. (Of course, that position would ultimately go to Cam Newton, with Dareus being taken as the third-overall pick.) Mike Mayock, in particular, spoke highly of Dareus, and he also had him rated No. 1 on his prospect board.
EJ Manuel: Manuel earned high marks for his show of athleticism at the Combine in 2013. Across all events - the 40, vertical jump, broad jump, 3-cone drill, and 20-yard shuffle - he was noted as a top performer at his position. Manuel's physical capability was noted, particularly his effectiveness in both shotgun formation as well as in play action. His ability to find receivers, his mobility, and his arm strength were also praised. However what scouts seemed to be most impressed with was his character, intelligence and leadership - but they also acknowledged his need to be more consistent and deemed him a "project quarterback."
Mario Williams: Williams followed up a 14.5-sack season in his final year at North Carolina State (which also included a bowl win) with an outstanding Combine performance. He impressed so much that Williams was drafted first overall by the Houston Texans - the pick many believed would go to Reggie Bush. At 295 pounds, Williams ran a 4.7 in the 40, had a 40.5-inch vertical leap, and a 10-foot broad jump before impressing in individual drills. Since the critical reception to his draft-day selection, Williams has been selected to four Pro Bowls.