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Combine Notes: Recappin'

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Notes now that the numbers are coming in on the weekend's NFL combine in Indy:

The fastest 40-time did not belong to Darren McFadden, whose blistering, heroic 4.27 at 211 pounds was the buzz of the weekend. McFadden wasn't even the fastest running back: that would be East Carolina's Chris Johnson, who burned Boise State in December and turned in an unbelievable, official 4.24 on one of his attempts over the weekend. Johnson may not be big enough to go in the first round (he was 197 pounds, smaller than any of last year's pro starters), especially after some questions were raised about how his racing methods:

The other burner was Dexter Jackson, a track guy last seen by gridiron fans torching Michigan's secondary on behalf of Appalachian State, who clocked in with a 4.27 on one of his runs. Big James Hardy of Indiana was faster than expected and may move into the first round after running a 4.47; the only legitimately fast quarterback was San Diego's Josh Johnson, who put up a 4.44.

On the disappointing side of the track, Mario Manningham's speed is all the undersized receiver had going for him in his bid for the first round, and his effort this weekend was weak: 4.59 and 4.62, officially, from a 181-pounder expected to easily go sub-4.4. That kind of letdown could knock him from the first day.

Kudos to Chad Henne and Sam Keller on cracking the 5.0 barrier in the 40, a mark cohorts Erik Ainge, Alex Brink, Paul Smith and Anthony Morelli juuuuust missed. Morelli, however, was at least a finalist for the positional award for "Monster Appendage" of the weekend, lugging in a hand measuring one-eighth of an inch shy of a ten full inches, best of his group.

The Morelli hand was second in freakishness only to the arm of Dennis Dixon, which measured a truly orangutanian 36 and one-quarter inches. No other quarterback had even comparable lank attached to them; the only other limb measuring longer than 34 inches was that of San Diego State's Kevin O'Connell, which still put him a good two inches behind Dixon's unseemly catapult. Here is the difference when compared to the entire class of quarterbacks, graphically:

The big spike at the end is all Dixon. And when it comes to big spikes, length and unseemly catapults at the combine, as in everywhere else in life, inches are everything.

Colt Brennan gained 23 pounds in a little over a month, according to the combine scales, up from 185 at the Senior Bowl to 208 at the combine. Thus ends speculation that the former accused rapist is a too-skinny ectomorph and begins speculation that he is a reckless steroid abuser. Where the NFL is concerned, the latter is unquestionably a better career move, until Congress wags its finger.


Combine Colt Brennan, left, takes a moment to pose with his former self at the Senior Bowl.
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On the other side of things, DeSean Jackson will tumble from the top of the receiver charts, likely landing in James Hardy's shirt pocket: the Cal star checked in just shy of 5-foot-10 and weighed 168 pounds, a good inch and ten pounds shorter/lighter than last year's measures on his prototype comparison, Ted Ginn. Presumably Jackson can still run (his best time is listed at 4.31) and catch but will probably stand - along with Andre Woodson, who showed up to get measured but didn't run or throw - as the biggest loser of the weekend.

They didn't measure Jacob Hester's 40 time, or any that of any other fullback, according to this (though the site did list times for offensive linemen, none below a 5.0). Not that they needed to - cuz that boy just plays footbaw the way it was meant to be played, son - but I was really interested.

Interesting note in an online diary by Army punter Owen Tolson, who chronicled his combine experience for Army's athletic site and relayed this nugget:

I went and grabbed a quick pasta lunch when I was approached by a member of NFL.com. He told me that I had been chosen to demonstrate the vertical jump for the NFL Network. I was surprised with this offer as I don't consider myself to be a top athlete with some of the players that we have here.
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No kidding, Owen. Odds are the network saw the punter from Army was walking around and said, "Let's get this kid on for a compare-contrast with the real athletes. It'll be like the normal people on American Gladiators!" If Tolson didn't ace the vertical, he did nail the interview portion of the rounds, as you might expect. So good luck, Owen, and all you hopeful punters and long snappers out there. Keep reaching for the stars, and the high snaps.

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More outstanding Speedy Gonzalez clips may be found here and here. "Roach," indeed. And before the inevitable onslaught of "Colt Brennan Shirtless" searchers weighs in, Colt is currently accused of neither rape or steroid abuse. Thank you and enjoy your low-rise bounty.