For numbers junkies, there's nothing like the NFL Combine. More than 300 athletes participate in each year's data dump in Indianapolis, providing height, weight, times and distances, among many other measurables.
Each year we present stories on current and former Jets who've fared well at the Combine. This year, with the help of nflcombineresults.com, we combed through all the available metrics for each year from 2002 through last year to compile interesting notes on the Jets players-to-be who popped up, be they future draft picks of the Green & White, veteran or undrafted free agents, players who hung for a while or were around just for an offseason cup of Gatorade.
One thing that every football fan knows but that comes through loud and clear in this research: Any one great event or Combine could signal a productive pro player in the making. But no great event or Combine can guarantee identifying such a player. There are the college careers to examine, and bowl performances, and interviews, and pro days ...
Still, it's a fun trip down memory lane to sift through all the names and numbers in six Combine events:
A track team of incredibly fast players, as timed at the Combine, have become Jets, but in keeping with their speedy natures, none stuck around long.
RB Chris Johnson, a Jet for the '14 season, was the most celebrated — his 4.24 in 2008 had stood as the gold standard of the electronic-timing era until John Ross blazed to a 4.22 last year. RB Dri Archer (4.26 in '14) wore green for three months in the '16 offseason, while WR Jacoby Ford (4.22 and 4.28 in '10) was in for four months in '14 but released that August.
It's worth repeating that Combine 40 times to this day are not "official." Each athlete runs the 40 twice and is timed three times in each, two by stopwatches in human hands and one electronically and also by unofficial watches held by many scouts. So any given time could be the fastest on any watch, the average of all six times, the average of the two electronic times, or some other standard.
Take a Look Back at Current Members of the Roster at the NFL Combine Over the Years
The top two rep totals put up by Jets-to-be were 37, by Vernon Gholston, the 2008 first-round DE/LB, and Wayne Hunter, the four-year tackle. FB Tommy Bohanon, the late star of Jacksonville's playoff upset of Pittsburgh, pumped out 36 reps in '13. DL Deon Simon, still on the Jets roster, cranked 35 reps in '15. LB Demario Davis and DT Sione Po'uha had 32 reps, DD in '12, Po'uha in '05.
The two best leaps by future Jets in the past 16 Combines were both recorded in 2005. S Kerry Rhodes, drafted in Round 4 by the Green & White, leaped 42.0", while CB/KR Justin Miller, taken in Round 2, leaped 41.5". Ahmad Carroll, a Jets CB/ST in 2008-09, skied a 41.0, tied for second-best in '04.
RB Lache Seastrunk, a Jet for only two weeks in August 2016, had the top broad jump of the '14 Combine, 11'2". Three others checked in at 11'1", all fairly recently — WR Stephen Hill in '12, LB Darron Lee in '16, and S Shamarko Thomas (a Jet for three months until he was a final cut last September) in '13.
CB Buster Skrine is the Jet-i master of the L-shaped 3-cone as he churned out a 6.44-second time, second-best for the entire 2011 Combine. S Jon McGraw, the Jets' second-round pick in 2002, was also outstanding with a 6.51, the best time of the '02 Combine.
We left out the 60-yard shuttle, which relatively few athletes participate in each year, and focused on the 20 shuttle. And we found four future Jets who recorded sub-4.0-second shuttles in the past 16 Combines. Two we already met in the 3-cone graph — Skrine (3.90, tied-for second in '11) and McGraw (3.92 in '02). Then there was WR Jerricho Cotchery, who notched a 3.91 time in '04.
And we couldn't end this piece without noting that a certain athlete with a familiar name cruised to a 3.90 shuttle time, good for eighth overall in '02. A certain ageless, amiable QB by the name of Josh McCown.