March 4, 2010 at 12:52 pm

Tim Twentyman: NFL Insider

Combine numbers game can be very misleading

Florida cornerback Joe Haden ran the 40-yard dash in 4.57 seconds, which might hurt his draft stock. (Michael Conroy/Associated Press)

The NFL combine is about numbers. How fast? How strong?

But don't read too much into those numbers.

The Jets were so impressed by outside linebacker Vernon Gholston, a Detroit native, and his 37 bench press reps at the 2008 combine, they made him the No. 6 pick. In two seasons, Gholston has 30 tackles and no sacks, and according to Jets coach Rex Ryan, this is a "make-or-break" season for him.

This year, Florida's Joe Haden entered the combine as the consensus No. 1 cornerback. But a few analysts are projecting his poor 40-yard dash time (4.57) could knock him out of the top 10.

Again, numbers don't tell the whole story. Take Oklahoma defensive tackle Gerald McCoy.

Some people were surprised he bench pressed 225 pounds only23 times, putting his strength into question.

By comparison, Nebraska defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh -- Suh and McCoy are projected, by some, to go Nos. 1 and 2 -- benched 32 reps.

"Oh, man, we're hoping somehow there's separation because in our eyes, there isn't any," Rams general manager Billy Devaney said the first day of the combine.

Devaney was going off what he'd seen onthe football field -- the true measuring stick.

Shrinking man

Will Carroll , who writes a weekly injury column on footballoutsiders.com and is known around the league as an injury expert, has uncovered something interesting regarding Colts safety Bob Sanders .

After his latest surgery (torn bicep), Carroll reports the 5-foot-8 Sanders shrunk 1 1/2 inches since his combine measurements in 2004.

Carroll said this was because of all the impact a player sustains during his career.

Research has revealed the average player shrinks two inches during his career.

Martz in the house

NBC Chicago is reporting former Lions and current Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz is ruffling feathers.

According to the report, Martz doesn't think tight end Greg Olsen is a good fit for his offense because he isn't a great blocker. Never mind Olsen led the Bears with 60 catches and eight touchdowns in 2009.

Olsen reportedly has caught wind of this and wants to be traded.

Did you hear the one ...

Besides their being poked, prodded and scrutinized at the combine, coaches and general managers want to know if a player can think fast.

"The Atlanta Falcons special teams coach and the Pittsburgh special teams coaches ... they sat me down and said, 'Tell us a joke,' " Michigan punter Zoltan Mesko said.

"I was like, 'Uhhh, I wasn't prepared for this.' I told this joke that was so bad and they were like, 'OK, let's just get your cell phone number and stuff for draft day.' I stopped them and said, I have to apologize for that bad joke. They were just looking at each other like, 'OK, let's move on.' "

The joke was two guys in a bar, according to Mesko.

tim.twentyman@detnews.com">tim.twentyman@detnews.com

By the numbers

6.25: Seconds it took NFL Network's Rich Eisen to run the 40-yard dash in a suit and track shoes during the combine

5.69: Seconds it took 354-pound Alabama DT Terrance Cody to run the 40-yard dash during the combine

12.3: Million viewers for the 2010 Pro Bowl, the most since 2000

Workout warriors

Top NFL combine workouts:

40-yard dash

Player Pos. School Time
Jacoby FordWRClemson4.28
Trindon HollidayATHLSU4.34
Jahvid BestRBCalifornia4.35

Bench press (225 pounds)

Player Pos. School Reps
Mitch PetrusTArkansas45
Jeff OwensDTGeorgia44
Linval JosephDTEast Carolina39

Vertical jump (inches)

Player Pos. School Ht.
A.J. JeffersonCBFresno State44.0
Dorin DickersonTEPittsburgh43.5
Eric BerrySTennessee43.0

Broad jump

Player Pos. School Dist.
Chris CookCBVirginia11-0
Eric BerrySTennessee10-10
Brandon GheeCBWake Forest10-7
Jerome MurphyCBSouth Florida10-7

3-cone drill (seconds)

Player Pos. School Time
Scott LongWRLouisville6.45
Cody GrimmLBVirginia Tech6.58
Emmanuel SandersWRSMU6.60

20-yard shuttle (seconds)

Player Pos. School Time
A.J. JeffersonCBFresno State4.00
Blair White WR Michigan State 4.03
Jerome MurphyCBSouth Florida4.05

60-yard shuttle (seconds)

Player Pos. School Time
Scott LongWRLouisville11.06
Blair White WR Michigan State 11.07
Barry ChurchSToledo11.18

Sharp drop-off

Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz has been entrusted with turning around an offense ranked 23rd last season. Where his offenses have ranked:

Year Team Off. Pass Rush
200849ers23rd13th27th
2007Lions19th9th31st
2006Lions22nd7th32nd
2005*Rams9th4th22nd
2004*Rams6th5th25th
2003*Rams9th3rd30th
2002*Rams13th2nd30th
2001*Rams1st1st5th
2000*Rams1st1st17th
1999Rams1st1st5th

* coach; all other seasons, Martz was offensive coordinator