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Old 02-22-2013, 05:47 AM  
DaKCMan AP DaKCMan AP is offline
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Run Fast at the Combine and You Might Be a Raider

By JONATHAN CLEGG

When it comes to the NFL scouting combine—drills begin Saturday at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis—it's no secret that the Oakland Raiders are crazy about the 40-yard dash.

Since 2006, five of the 15 fastest prospects to run at the combine were drafted by Oakland, including Jacoby Ford and Darrius Heyward-Bey.

While the Raiders have been obsessed with speed, the Houston Texans appear to prefer players who excel at one of the combine's less-heralded workouts: the three-cone drill.

In the past six years, four of the top 12 performers in the three-cone drill were drafted by the Texans or signed by the team as an undrafted free agent. That includes former Oregon receiver Jeff Maehl, who finished the drill in 6.42 seconds, the fastest of any NFL prospect since 2006.

Houston isn't the only team that has focused on prospects who shine at the combine's esoteric exercises. It seems the Kansas City Chiefs place a lot of stock in the vertical jump—acquiring three of the top 15 performers since 2006—while the New York Giants are partial to players who excel at the bench press, having drafted three of the top 15 standouts in that drill.

In some respects, the attention given to those particular drills makes perfect sense. The three-cone drill is used to measure short-area quickness, which is a key attribute in Houston's zone-blocking offense. The Chiefs may choose to focus on players with extraordinary leaping ability because their struggles at the quarterback position has meant their receivers see a lot of wayward passes.

But so far, the workout-specific drafting strategy hasn't produced great results for Houston. Of the four three-cone drill specialists drafted by the Texans, only one—2011 fifth-round safety Shiloh Keo—is still with the team.

A version of this article appeared February 21, 2013, on page D10 in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: Run Fast at the Combine and You Might Be a Raider.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000...?mod=djemITP_h
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Old 02-22-2013, 10:15 AM   #16
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