Combine cred: Strength or speed?

The NFL Scouting Combine has wrapped and everyone has filtered their way out of Lucas Oil Stadium, but two notable players cracked the high marks in this year’s drills.

Oregon State’s Stephen Paea pumped his way to the most bench-press reps in a decade, and Miami’s DeMarcus Van Dyke tied for the third-fastest 40-yard dash in the same time span.

So which record holds the most promise for NFL success? Does beast mode top blaze historically, or is it the other way around?

When we posted Paea’s feat to NFL’s official Facebook page, more than 760 comments poured in — mostly with people bragging about their own bench-press feats — but perhaps the most telling came from a Carl Stickland in Jacksonville who wrote, “Keep that name in mind because he will be out of the league in three years.”


If we check out the best benchers list, most are washouts like Kudla, Young and Owens:

Pos Player School Combine Reps
DT Stephen Paea Oregon State 2011 49
G Mitch Petrus Arkansas 2010 45
DE Mike Kudla Ohio State 2006 45
DT Leif Larsen Texas-El Paso 2000 45
DT Jeff Owens Georgia 2010 44
DT Brodrick Bunkley Florida State 2006 44
G Scott Young Brigham Young 2005 43

Even Justin Ernest, who owns the record for the most reps of all time with 51 in 1999, was a one-and-done with the Saints.

But Paea, who was born in Auckland, New Zealand (which is somehow inexplicably a place that last week’s Wheel of Fortune contestants have never heard of) might be the exception since he’s slated to go in the first round, according to NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock.

Comparatively, the list of the quick guys are pretty recognizable, with the top time going to CJ2K himself:

Pos Player School Combine Time
RB Chris Johnson East Carolina 2008 4.24
CB Stanford Routt Houston 2005 4.27
CB DeMarcus Van Dyke Miami 2011 4.28
WR Jacoby Ford Clemson 2010 4.28
WR Jerome Mathis Hampton 2005 4.28
CB D. Rodgers-Cromartie Tennessee State 2008 4.29
CB Fabian Washington Nebraska 2005 4.29

And if we go back all time, Champ Bailey also ran a 4.28, and it’s safe to say that his 12-year career as a consistent Pro Bowl corner has gone pretty well – so much so that he just signed another deal with the Broncos.

Welcome to your future, DeMarcus. Speed wins.