I've been asked about two contradictory articles I posted in the last couple of days. In one, I said that it didn't matter much that Robert Griffin III ran a fast time in the 40. I also wrote a post saying that Georgia Tech wide receiver Stephen Hill probably improved his draft stock a good bit with his 4.36 time in the 40.
So, which is it? Does the 40 matter or doesn't it?
The answer is, of course, it depends. The main factor that is at work is sample size.
RG3 attempted 402 passes in 2011 and he had 179 rushing attempts (including 29 sacks). His Baylor career totals were 1159 passes and 510 rushes. That is a large sample size for scouts and coaches to use to evaluate him. They really didn't need to see him run up the sideline at Lucas Oil Stadium in track shorts to know what he can do.
Hill, on the other hand, has a smaller body of work to show talent evaluators. He had 28 receptions last year and 49 for his three-year college career. Georgia Tech averaged 12.5 pass attempts per game while Hill was there and he wasn't out in a pattern on every one of them. The relative paucity of information on Hill compared to Griffin makes each measurable performance for the receiver much more important than it is for the quarterback.
The bottom line is that play on film trumps all numbers at the combine. But if you don't have enough film, the combine performances count more.