By W. Casan Scott
The fastest player at the 2015 NFL Combine was not Jamarcus Nelson, Trae Waynes, or Phillip Dorsett. Normalizing 40 yard dash time to body weight revealed that Alvin “Bud” Dupree was the fastest player at this year’s combine, and the second fastest defensive end prospect ever behind Mario Williams. Using a similar approach as Chase Stuart (link below), but including approximately 2,400 combine participants dating back to 2003, I performed a linear regression of body weight (lbs) vs 40 yard dash time (secs). This relationship is described by the following equation (r2 = 0.75):
40 yard dash time (secs) = [0.006 x body weight (lbs)] + 3.309
Given Bud Dupree’s body weight of 269 lbs, he was predicted to run a 4.92 second 40. His actual 40 time of 4.56 was approximately 0.36 seconds faster than expected.
Using this approach, the fastest player in Combine history was Vernon Davis, who ran a full 0.45 seconds faster than what was expected of his 254 lbs. The table below lists the 10 fastest weight normalized 40 yard dash times ever, including Davis, Calvin Johnson, Mario Williams, and Dupree.
Of the fastest times in 2015, only Dupree was comparable to the fastest times of this decade. He exceeded his expected time by 0.36 seconds, nearly a tenth of a second faster than anyone else. The fastest weight-normalized 40 times from 2015 are listed in table 2.
Using these differences between predicted and actual 40 yard dash times (40 yard dash differential), we selected the 2015 All-Speed team. This includes Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota, projected top-10 pick Kevin White, Outland Trophy winner Brandon Scherff, as well as All-Americans Vic Beasley and Landon Collins.
When looking at how the 2015 All-Speed team stacks up to the All-Time team, “Bud” Dupree was the only player included on both lists. Dupree would have made the All-Time list as either a DE or OLB.
Players like Vic Beasley and Dante Flower maybe stole the spotlight at this year’s Combine, but Alvin “Bud” Dupree may have been the most impressive player there. Aside from his historically fast 40, Dupree also recorded the 3rd highest vertical (42 inches) and 2nd highest broad jump (11’6”) ever for his position (DL-LB), regardless of body-weight. A first team All-SEC pass rusher, Dupree has also cemented his position as possibly the most athletic player in the 2015 NFL Draft.