As soon as one NFL Draft cycle closes, the next opens. Along with the college football season, all-star games, and pro days, the NFL Combine is yet another place for prospects to put their physical ability on display. Which athletes own the Combine records for various drills, including the 40-yard dash, bench press, and more?
NFL Combine Records
The Combine is where hundreds of top college football athletes come to shed the pads and show all 32 NFL teams just how freakish they are physically. The weeklong event has called Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana, home since 1987.
Note: Records are since 2006 when equipment changed for the Combine.
NFL Combine Records: 40-Yard Dash
Electronic timing began in 1999 for the 40-yard dash, so any times before were not considered for the record books. That means the likes of Bo Jackson (reportedly ran a 4.12 at the 1986 Combine) and Deion Sanders (4.2 in 1989) will not be on the list.
Wide receiver John Ross holds the record for the fastest 40 time recorded since 1999. In his final collegiate season, Ross generated 1,150 yards and 17 touchdowns on 81 receptions. Yet, that was his only productive season as a full-time starter. So proving he was as fast as his tape looked was imperative to win scouts over.
Well, it’s safe to say he did, as his blazing 4.22 40 time helped him secure a first-round selection — ninth overall by the Cincinnati Bengals — in the 2017 NFL Draft.
- WR John Ross | 4.22 (2017)
- DB Kalon Barnes | 4.23 (2022)
- RB Chris Johnson | 4.24 (2008)
- CB DJ Turner II | 4.26 (2023)
- RB Dri Archer | 4.26 (2014)
The bench press showcases upper-body strength by seeing how many times a player can move 225 pounds. Realistically, this drill is only significant for offensive and defensive linemen. It’s also unsurprising that the biggest humans at the Combine are the ones who routinely put up the most reps.
Hailing from Oregon State, Stephen Paea laid his nearly 6’1″ and 300-pound body on the bench and pumped out 49 reps. The New Zealand-born DT set one of the longest-standing Combine records in the history of the event heading into the 2011 NFL Draft, helping him land with the Chicago Bears in Round 2.
- DT Stephen Paea | 49 (2011)
- OL Mitch Petrus | 45 (2010)
- DT Jeff Owens | 44 (2010)
- DT Dontari Poe | 44 (2012)
The vertical jump helps decision-makers judge lower-body explosiveness. It’s typically an important drill for skill positions (WRs, RBs, DBs), but it’s also useful for tight ends and edge rushers.
After four years of marginal production at Georgia, Chris Conley needed to impress at the Combine, and he did just that. Measuring in at 6’2″ and 213 pounds, Conley ran a 4.35 40-yard dash and produced solid numbers across the board.
However, his best was by far his 45-inch vertical jump. It was the best in the 2015 NFL Draft class, though Byron Jones wasn’t far behind (44.5) and the best in Combine history. Conley parlayed his testing numbers into a third-round pick by the Kansas City Chiefs.
- WR Chris Conley | 45.0 (2015)
- CB Donald Washington | 45.0 (2009)
- DB Byron Jones | 44.5 (2015)
- CB A.J. Jefferson | 44.0 (2010)
- S Obi Melifonwu | 44.0 (2017)
- S Juan Thornhill | 44.0 (2019)
NFL Combine Records: Broad Jump
The broad jump highlights lower-body power and explosiveness. It also shows flexibility to anchor for players in the trenches. While it is important for linemen, skill position players own the top spots in the record books.
Jones may have come up just short in the vertical jump to Conley, but he crushed the broad jump. Jones’ 12’3″ jump not only broke Combine history, but it set a new world record that likely won’t fall anytime soon. Anyone old enough to watch and understand the 2015 NFL Combine remembers Jones’ historic performance.
- CB Byron Jones | 12’3″ (2015)
- S Obi Melifonwu | 11’9″ (2017)
- WR Emanuel Hall | 11’9″ (2019)
- S Juan Thornhill | 11’9″ (2019)
The three-cone drill is my personal favorite at the NFL Combine. Its main function is to calculate a prospect’s change-of-direction ability, bend, and acceleration/burst. Pass rushers are who you want to watch during the three-cone, as the best in the league typically register excellent times among the position group.
CB Jordan Thomas holds one of the most recent Combine records, generating a 6.28-second three-cone in 2018. After setting the record, Thomas went undrafted in the 2018 NFL Draft out of Oklahoma and never played a down in the NFL.
- CB Jordan Thomas | 6.28 (2018)
- WR Jeffrey Maehl | 6.42 (2011)
- CB Buster Skrine | 6.44 (2011)
- WR Scott Long | 6.45 (2010)
- CB David Long | 6.45 (2019)
The 20-yard shuttle is all about reaction speeds. It tests a player’s body control as they change directions. As a result, it makes sense that defenders fill the majority of the list, though the top spot belongs to a certain wide receiver.
One of the fastest receivers in the league, it’s not surprising to see Brandin Cooks tie Jason Allen’s record-holding 3.81 20-yard shuttle time. The Miami Dolphins selected Jason Allen 16th overall in the 2006 NFL Draft, and he enjoyed a seven-year career in the league.
Cooks also went in Round 1, 20th overall to the New Orleans Saints in the 2014 NFL Draft. Since entering the NFL, all he has done is produce six 1,000-yard seasons in eight years.
- WR Brandin Cooks | 3.81 (2014)
- DB Jason Allen | 3.81 (2006)
- CB Bobby McCain | 3.82 (2015)
- CB B.W. Webb | 3.84 (2013)
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