While USC safety Taylor Mays’ 40-yard dash time became a source of discussion Tuesday at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, the subject is coming into clearer focus.
NFL Network’s Mike Mayock spoke to representatives from six different teams that all had Mays running between 4.31 and 4.35 seconds. NFL.com analyst Bucky Brooks, on the Lucas Oil Field where the event was taking place, had another scout putting Mays at 4.33. So that’s seven out seven hand-held times that were recorded much lower than Mays’ official electronic time.
It was originally reported that Mays had an unofficial time of 4.24 seconds on his first run and 4.34 seconds on his second run, but he was later credited with an official time of 4.43 seconds.
The difference suggests that Mays’ actual 40-yard dashes were closer to the unofficial times than the official time.
The official times are usually slower than the unofficial times recorded by NFL Network, which uses a person with a hand-held timer situated at the finish line. The official times are recorded electronically and take a while to process and get released. The electronic timing is more exact than the human hand-held timing, so the times produced electronically are the official ones.
On Tuesday, however, the electronic timing appeared to be off for not only Mays but at least one other defensive back. Rutgers CB Devin McCourty ran unofficial hand-held 40 times of 4.34 and 4.35, but his official electronic time came in at a much slower 4.48. The official times of all other top-10 performances among defensive backs were in line with their unofficial times.