Recently graduated Cal Poly receiver Ramses Barden ran an unofficial 4.57-second 40-yard dash Sunday at the NFL Draft Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.
It would figure to be a mild success for the 6-foot-6, 229-pound Barden, who was estimated by most draft commentators to be in the 4.6 range, effectively the cutoff for a receiver to be drafted in the first few rounds.
Barden provided a first-person account on the build-up to today in a diary at The Sporting News.
The Seahawks might have especially been interested in how he ran. When Texas Tech’s Michael Crabtree garnered criticism for measuring in a tad smaller than expected, Seattle head coach Jim Mora told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, “I believe he had the longest arms of the receivers, other than the kid from Cal Poly.”
With regard to his size, Barden told Scout.com, “I hope that I’m unique enough for somebody to take a chance on me with one of the first 32 picks.”
He definitely has the uniqueness part down.
Of the more than 40 receivers invited to the combine, only four others were at least 6-4: Clemson’s Aaron Kelly (6-5, 204 pounds, 4.49 speed), Nevada’s Marko Mitchell (6-4, 218, 4.46), USC’s Patrick Turner (6-5, 221, NA) and Oregon’s Jaison Williams (6-4, 239, 4.64).
Perhaps only Mitchell comes feasibly close in terms of an overall combination of height, build and speed — and he produced far less in games.
Uniqueness does seem underrated. Take what happened to Cal’s DeSean Jackson last year. He was roundly critiqued for being too small (5-10, 167), but after being chosen by the Eagles 49th overall (after six other receivers), he went on to catch 62 passes for 912 yards — both second-best amongst rookies — while creating a buzz throughout the league during an NFC Championship run.
Ultimately, did it matter that he wasn’t a prototypical 6-2, 210, 4.4 type of player? Of course not. Prospects like that are a dime a dozen. The ones like Jackson — and perhaps, on the entirely opposite end of the spectrum, Barden — add diversity to an offense.