Yes, a Wide Receiver CAN Be Both Fast and Good at Football

Kyle Koster
Henry Ruggs is fast. Is he too fast, though?
Henry Ruggs is fast. Is he too fast, though? / Joe Robbins/Getty Images
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Michael Irvin made a point yesterday that resonated with Skip Bayless. He argued that wide receivers can be too fast for their own good and that no wide receiver who has run a sub-4.3 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine has made the Hall of Fame.

Irving's larger point may have some validity. And certainly the inverse can be true. The Dallas Cowboys great was hardly speedy, posting a 4.52 as a prospect. It didn't hurt him all that much.

Randy Moss, who ran a 4.25, made the Hall of Fame in 2018. So, there's that. Calvin Johnson was supremely fleet-footed, running a 4.35. Julio Jones ran a 4.39. They all managed to do well and run under-control routes.

Will Fuller (4.32) and Brandin Cooks (4.33) are on their way to stellar careers. Phillip Dorsett (4.33) and Mike Wallace (4.34) were also undeterred by their fast-twitch muscles.

The truth of the matter is that athletes are getting stronger and faster. DK Metcalf ran a 4.33 before having a fantastic rookie year with Seattle. A person that large should not be able to move that quickly. Metcalf is a lot of things, but out-of-control of his enormous body is one of them.

Look, timing isn't everything. Some of the more insane 40 times translated to nothing in the NFL. But the only guys to do it in under 4.30 since 2006 are: John Ross, Marquise Goodwin, Henry Ruggs last night, Jacoby Ford, and J.J. Nelson. Goodwin and Ford weren't total busts, and their big-play ability was valuable.

What I'm suggesting here, is that a wide receiver can be both fast and good at football. Being fast helps a lot more than it hurts. Poll every front office and they'd prefer the fast guy over the slow guy. Irvin is correct that there's more to football than getting from Point A to Point B in the least time, but no one is seriously arguing that anyway.

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