The key to running a fast time in the 40-yard dash, trainers say, is to start fast.
If that theory proves true, Eastern Washington running back Taiwan Jones may prove to be the fastest player in the 2011 draft.
Doug Farrar of Yahoo.com recorded a video of Jones practicing the 40-yard dash at the esteemed Athletes Performance. In the video, Jones' coach, Performance Manager Brent Callaway, claims that Jones' 10-yard splits are in the "1.4s." If so, the 6-0, 194 pound running back will have finished the most important quarter of the 40-yard dash faster than anyone tested at the Scouting Combine.
The video shows Callaway coaching Jones on the first 15 yards of the dash. It is Callaway's comments about Jones' starts a little later in the video, however, that will create the biggest stir in the scouting community. At one point he tells Jones he had him at "1.45."
Followng the workout, Farrar asks Callaway the question we'd all like to know -- What's [Jones] been running here?
"Running fast. Running fast," Callaway replies. "We haven't caught him on a full 40 yet, but his first 10 he's been running low 1.4s and that sets him up to run really fast whenever he goes out."
According to sources within the league, the fastest electronically timed 10-yard split run at the 2011 Scouting Combine was by Ohio State's Chimdi Chekwa -- who ran it in 1.52 seconds. Chekwa was electronically timed at 4.38 seconds in the 40-yard dash, only .01 seconds slower than Miami's DeMarcus Van Dyke -- the fastest player at the 2011 Combine. Van Dyke's fastest 10-yard split was 1.58 seconds.*
Jones is training for his Pro Day April 14. A broken bone in his left foot suffered in the playoffs on EWU's run to the national championship kept Jones from working out at the Scouting Combine or Eastern Washington's scheduled Pro Day. Jones, the 2010 Big Sky Co-Offensive Player of the Year, rushed for 1,742 yards and scored 14 touchdowns last season.
He is a player I'm very high on. I believe he's the most electrifying open field runner in this class. He comes with legitimate durability concerns, but his versatility and athleticism could make him an immediate difference-maker in the right offense. NFLDraftScout.com currently rates Jones as a 3rd-4th round pick .
*These electronically-timed results are the ones used by NFL teams and in some cases different than the times reported during The NFL Network and NFL.com's coverage of the Combine. NFL.com credits Van Dyke with a 4.28 second time in the 40-yard dash and has LSU's Patrick Peterson and Maryland's Da'Rel Scott tied for second place in the 40-yard dash at 4.34 seconds. The fastest electronic times, on the other hand, for Peterson and Scott were 4.38 seconds in the 40-yard dash (1.57 in the 10-yard split) and 4.38 and 1.55 seconds, respectively for Scott.
Here is Farrar's video: