Written By: Adam Poedubicky

The 40-time might be one of the more irrelevant stats in sports. It usually takes 99 out of 100 plays for one player to actually have to sprint for 40 yards. More than anything, it’s just a pride marker for young players looking to get drafted. Run below a magic time, you get drafted ten picks higher and gain another ten million dollars. Run above a magic time, you get drafted a round later and lose out on a guaranteed signing bonus. My point is that a good 40-time doesn’t translate into all-pro success.

When it comes to the 40, there are mainly two players who come to mind: Darrell Green and Chris Johnson. Green, a defensive back, had an unofficial time of 4.09, which seems a little farfetched considering no one has reliably come close to that in years. Chris Johnson, the current running back for the Tennessee Titans, run an electronically-timed 4.24, which is tied for the fastest electronic record. With whom you may ask? Rondel Melendez, a wide receiver from Eastern Kentucky, who ran the same speed in 1999. Search for Melendez online and you’ll find only this time, and lists of other players who were workout warriors at the NFL Combine that didn’t pan out in the pros.

Today, running backs Jahvid Best (Cal) and C.J. Spiller (Clemson) posted the fastest official 40-times of running backs, clocking in at 4.35 and a 4.37, respectively. An elated Chris Johnson provided us with educated Twitter updates, saying “Last 1 2 c if dey cn do its cj spiller cn he beat my forty _ I’dsay thesnow held off in hell 2day lol.” For those of you who need a translation, Chris Johnson was eager to observe C.J. Spiller run his 40-yard dash to see if he could trounce the time previously posted by Johnson.

Regardless of times, these tenth of a second differences don’t make or break an NFL running back. It takes vision to see when the hole is going to open at exactly the right time. It takes being able to hold on to the ball (looking at you, Adrian Peterson). It takes being able to pass protect so a running back isn’t a liability to your franchise quarterback. So far, Chris Johnson has been able to put it all together as an NFL running back. He has the necessary traits, as well as the blazing speed. Although I believe Best and Spiller will be quality running backs, let’s not rush past the point and remember that speed isn’t at it takes to be a running back in the NFL.

Photo Credit: masteringthe40yard.com