- Covered Broncos for nine years for Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News
- Previously covered Steelers, Bills and Titans
- Member of Pro Football Hall of Fame Board
of Selectors since 1999
INDIANAPOLIS — Two things in a 40-yard dash at the NFL’s scouting combine will raise plenty of eyebrows and bring plenty double takes of those in the stands at Lucas Oil Stadium.
The first is rare speed, the kind of speed Alabama wide receiver Henry Ruggs III showed Thursday night.
And then there is big-man speed like Louisville tackle Mekhi Becton flashed Friday night. Becton, who is the biggest player at this year’s combine having checked in at 6-foot-7⅜ and 364 pounds, put up an official 5.10 clocking in the 40-yard dash.
According to ESPN Stats & Information, Becton is the heaviest player to run a sub-5.2 40-yard dash at the combine since 2006. Former Memphis nose tackle Dontari Poe has the fastest big man 40 over the past 15 years; he ran a 4.98 40-yard dash at the 2012 combine after weighing in at 346 pounds.
Iowa’s Tristan Wirfs also had a notable effort on Friday, as the 320-pound offensive tackle put up a vertical jump of 36.5 inches — the best by any offensive lineman at the combine since 2006. He topped Morgan State tackle Joshua Miles’ jump of 36 inches at last year’s combine.
Wirfs’ vertical topped combine efforts by DeAndre Hopkins (36 inches), A.J. Green (34.5) and Amari Cooper (33) from previous years, and was better than the vertical leap of 26 wide receivers who worked out Thursday at the combine.
Wirfs also ran a 4.86 (unofficial) 40-yard dash, which would be the fastest by any player at least 320 pounds since 2006. The previous fastest was 4.92 by offensive lineman Greg Robinson in 2014.
Wirfs’ broad jump of 10 feet, 1 inch was also a combine record for offensive linemen.
Fresno State’s Netane Muti, a native of Tonga who played high school football in Hawaii, had 44 repetitions of 225 pounds in the bench press, tied for fourth most in combine history.
Becton did not participate in the position drills with the rest of the offensive linemen after his 40-yard dash Friday and had some ice on his leg. But his athleticism is a drawing card for him given scouts have already circulated Becton’s basketball highlights from his high school career, in which Becton is repeatedly dunking the ball.
He is the top tackle on the board for many teams because of his size, athleticism and his willingness to finish blocks.
“It’s just fun seeing a man on the ground every play and then going to jump on him,” Becton said in Indianapolis earlier this week. “That’s what I love about the game … I feel I’m the most dominant tackle in this draft. You wouldn’t go wrong picking me.”
Becton has said he expects whatever team who selects him in the April draft to ask him to lose weight and said his goal was to eventually play at about 350 or 355 pounds, and that he played at 352 pounds this past season.
“They definitely want me to lose [weight], Becton said. “I’m willing to lose weight. Whatever they want me to do … I think that was what everyone was looking for. The weight. To see if I came in heavy or not. I feel I had a great weight.”
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