Speed overrated in the NFL?

In the Oct. 19 issue of ESPN the Mag (a.k.a. “The Body Issue”), Bruce Feldman argues that speed is far more important in college football, where the hash marks are wider, the preparation isn’t as good and the talent disparity is greater, than it is in the NFL, where everyone is fast.

Case in point, the Oakland Raiders:

Or you can just look at the Oakland Raiders. Much like the Gators’, their performance separates them from the pack in recent years — just not in a good way. No one in the NFL covets speed the way the Raiders do.

Al Davis, the man who pursued such speedsters as the aptly named James Jett, is downright enamored of fast guys, perhaps even more so than Meyer is. (Of the nine fastest players tested by the NFL over the past 10 years, four — Fabian Washington, Stanford Routt, Ashley Lelie and Carlos Francis — have played for the Raiders.) According to an NFL scout, the Raiders had 15 players on their roster last season who’d run a verified 40 of 4.5 or faster — four more than the next “fastest” team. And what did it get them? A sixth-straight season with double-digit losses.

It’s a good read.

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