The 40-yard dash has taken on an unparalleled importance at the NFL Combine through the years, and it's the event that had everyone talking again on Monday.
A day after skill position players like quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers took to the 40-yard dash, the men tasked with chasing those players down gave the drill their best shot.
While not everyone posted Jadeveon Clowney-type numbers (That's right, not everyone is 6-foot-5 and 266 pounds of pure athleticism), many defensive linemen and linebackers came in with impressive marks.
Former Pittsburgh Panther star Aaron Donald proved his worth as a potential first-round draft pick with a time of 4.68 in the 40-yard dash, while Florida State's Timmy Jernigan ran an unofficial time of 4.93 in his second attempt at the 40-yard dash.
Both Donald and Jernigan are expected to be picked before Arizona State's Will Sutton, and the Sun Devils' All-American didn't help his cause with his time. Sutton clocked in with a 5.36 in the 40-yard dash, which bested just two of his fellow defensive linemen at the combine.
Fortunately for Sutton, the 40-yard dash is almost irrelevant for defensive tackles, as scouts and talent evaluators prefer to see a big burst of speed and what the linemen can do in short spurts. A tackle's first 10-yards of his 40-yard dash, and his time in the 3-cone drill are more telling of the speed that player will need to use in a game.
Still, Sutton struggled in the 3-cone drill, putting up a time of 7.93 seconds, which leaves him in the bottom half of defensive tackles. It is unclear whether or not Sutton's agility drills will hurt his draft stock, but it is highly unlikely that he will be moving up draft boards after his performance on the field in Indianapolis.
As for Sutton's teammate Carl Bradford, the Sun Devils' starting Devilbacker in 2013 did put up solid numbers. In the 40-yard dash, Bradford posted a time of 4.76 seconds, which is competitive compared to most of his fellow linebackers. Bradford's time left him just outside the top 15 for linebackers, but considering he can be a pass rush specialist in the NFL, his mark is just fine.
In the 3-cone drill, Bradford ran a 7.25, which is a far cry from the 6.82 that UCLA's Anthony Barr ran, but still shouldn't hurt his stock in the eyes of evaluators. Bradford also posted a time of 4.30 seconds in the 20-yard shuttle, and an outstanding mark of 122 inches in the broad jump that gave him the event's fifth place slot for all linebackers participating.
At the NFL Combine, Bradford helped his draft stock more than Sutton did, but both have plenty of work to do to prepare for Arizona State's Pro Day on March 7.