At the 2009 NFL Combine, Darrius Heyward-Bey ran an official 4.3 flat.
In 2016, now 29, Heyward-Bey still shows those same wheels. Heck, maybe he’s gotten faster.
As ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reports, the team has been using GPS technology to track speed and steps, a growing trend around the league. In its most practical form, it helps determine a player’s workload, if they’re doing too much and need their reps to be scaled back. But for fun, it can be used as a radar gun.
According to Arthur Moats, via Fowler, Heyward-Bey has clocked in at 25 miles per hour. That’s faster than Martavis Bryant, who came in at 24 miles per hour at some point earlier in the offseason. Bryant ran a 4.42 at the Combine two years ago.
Perhaps half-joking, half-serious, wide receiver Issac Blakeney told me that Heyward-Bey can run a 4.2. He was forced to sit out the receivers’ spring race, won by Ryan Shazier, beating out Antonio Brown, Markus Wheaton, Sammie Coates, and Eli Rogers. The implication was clear: if DHB is racing, DHB is winning.
In 2015, Heyward-Bey averaged 15 yards per catch, the second best mark he’s ever turned in. Notable big plays include his 35 yard touchdown against the San Francisco 49ers and his 66 yard catch and run versus the Cleveland Browns. He still has all the tools that made him a top ten pick seven years ago. Size, speed, and ability to block.
It’s a gentle reminder that while yes, Coates will likely one day pass him, he’ll have to earn it like anyone else. Heyward-Bey has the trust, and the speed, to succeed in this offense and he won’t go away quietly.
And someone make sure he doesn’t try to sprint in a school zone. He’ll get ticketed.