Speed Don't Mean Jack

Published on 28-Feb-2014 by Towner Park

Football - NFL    NFL Daily Review

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Speed Don't Mean Jack

Certainly Al Davis and the Oakland Raiders are all too familiar with this concept.

Speed is the annoyingly pretentious but drop dead gorgeous prom date of the NFL. She's quite amazing to watch but it's all flash without much substance.

Sure, possessing speed is one thing, but knowing when and how to use it is quite another. The greats like Deion Sanders and Darrell Green -- two lightning-fast players in their own right -- not only tapped into their innate ability but consistently looked for ways to improve upon it.

They understood that speed alone will only reserve you a place at the starting line.

It's the refinement of that craft that will carry you to the finish line.

Take a moment to review some of the Oakland Raiders' draft selections from previous years. In no particular order, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Jacoby Ford, Stanford Routt, and Fabian Washington are just a few Raiders who are all unquestionably fast. However, despite that eye-popping speed, none of them have proved to be a prolific or even a solid NFL player.

I won't discount injuries or misfortune, either. Any leg injury can completely dismantle their career, especially if they're in a position where speed plays an critical role.

Take the NFL combine where NFL recruits go gaga over unbelievably fast college athletes. Sure, Jadeveon Clowney ran a 40 in an official time of 4.53 but does that mean he's going to be able to sack the quarterback? Can he circumvent colassal NFL lineman and pin a NFL-caliber quarterback to the ground in less than three seconds? How's his footwork? What about his lateral movement?

There's so much more to the equation than just speed, and I think that should be publicized more. Even Usain Bolt practices to refine his much sought-after skill set.

I digress. We all know the pretty girl gets all the glory, and unfortunately, speed will always garner the headline.