By Brendan Stiles
Former Iowa wide receiver Derrell Johnson-Koulianos was not among those who participated in Iowa’s Pro Day on Monday in Iowa City. He did however work out in Iowa City at Fit2Live Gym for NFL scouts, and the results of those workouts have since been revealed, according to Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post.
Since Johnson-Koulianos was not invited to the NFL Scouting Combine last month in Indianapolis, Ind., I figured these numbers he posted Monday need some context. With that in mind, this is simply a comparison of how Johnson-Koulianos’ Pro Day performance stacks up with other wide receivers who were invited to the Combine.
Let’s start with the 40-yard dash times of 4.50 and 4.52, which rounds out to a 4.51 average. This is pretty decent speed for a wide receiver, especially when considering that only 11 of the 46 wideouts invited to Indianapolis ran faster that 4.50. The fastest 40-time at the Combine was a 4.37 recorded by both Abilene Christian’s Edmond Gates and Fort Valley State’s Ricardo Lockett. Among Football Bowl Subdivision players, the fastest 40-time was a 4.39 from Alabama’s Julio Jones.
Georgia’s A.J. Green and Pittsburgh’s Jonathan Baldwin both ran 4.50, Nebraska’s Niles Paul was among those who ran a 4.51, and slower 40-times than that of Johnson-Koulianos’ came from the likes of receivers such as Titus Young (Boise State), Greg Little (North Carolina), Terrence Toliver (LSU), Dane Sanzenbacher (Ohio State), Terrence Turner (Indiana), Jeffrey Maehl (Oregon), Jeremy Kerley (TCU), and Vincent Brown (San Diego State).
Benching 225 pounds, Johnson-Koulianos managed 21 reps. Only 13 of the 46 Combine participants at receiver did the bench press, and only two — Little and Paul — finished with more reps. Little had a Combine-high among receivers with 27 reps, while Paul had 24 reps. Among the other wideouts who did the bench, but finished with fewer than 21 reps were Baldwin (20), Green (18), Jones (17) and Kerley (16).
Johnson-Koulianos had a vertical leap of 34.5 inches on Monday. Of the 38 wideouts who performed the vertical leap at the Combine, only 11 finished lower than 34.5. Green, Paul, and Kerley all finished at exactly 34.5 like Johnson-Koulianos, while the highest vertical leap at the Combine came from Baldwin at 42.0 inches.
In the broad jump, Johnson-Koulianos had one of nine feet, 10 inches. At the Combine, this would have been one of the lowest scores, as only six participants had shorter broad jumps.
Johnson-Koulianos also took part in three other drills wide receivers go through at the NFL Combine — the three-cone drill, the 20-yard shuttle, and 60-yard shuttle.
His time in the three-cone drill was 6.92. To put that in perspective, the fastest time at the Combine was 6.42 by Maehl, while Sanzenbacher had a 6.46. Jones’ time was 6.66, while Little was clocked in this drill at 6.80.
In the 20-yard shuttle, Johnson-Koulianos ran a 4.42. Of the 36 Combine participants that did this drill last month, only one — Florida Atlantic’s Lestar Jean — finished with a slower time of 4.43. The fastest 20-yard shuttle time was a 3.88 recorded by Boise State’s Austin Pettis.
Finally, in the 60-yard shuttle, Johnson-Koulianos ran an 11.92. The slowest time at the Combine by any participant was 11.75.
With all of this data in mind, the big question becomes what this all means in the grand scheme of things.
Before addressing that, I want to make one thing clear: Any off-the-field issues that Johnson-Koulianos may or may not have in the eyes of NFL teams should be separate from comparing individual workouts. Any NFL team with interest in having him on its roster would be asking him about all of that anyway, so for the sake of this analysis, I’m focusing strictly on how he stacks with other college wide receivers given the results in these drills that the majority of them have gone through.
The first two categories — 40-yard dash and bench press — are the ones that get talked about most, and for good reason as speed and strength are two extremely important facets to the game of football. In these areas, Johnson-Koulianos did well. A 4.5 40-time might seem slow, but compared to the competition, it’s not that bad. The 21 bench reps is definitely a positive when only two others performed better. I think it’s fairly obvious how important upper body strength is for wide receivers, especially when it comes to blocking, a part of Johnson-Koulianos’ game (and Marvin McNutt’s game, for that matter) that was a strength.
With that said, however, the numbers in the other categories also stand out to me. These numbers aren’t terrible by any means, but compared to other wide receivers who did have the luxury of being invited to the Combine, none of these numbers really do anything to justify an NFL team deciding to draft someone like Derrell Johnson-Koulianos over, say, a Dane Sanzenbacher. That’s not saying a team wouldn’t draft Johnson-Koulianos over Sanzenbacher, but that teams who do tend to factor in this data specifically would be more likely to draft the latter if given the option.
Here are all the Combine numbers for all 46 invitees at wide receiver, courtesy of fftoolbox.com, and you can judge for yourself if you really want.
The bottom line here is this: We all know Johnson-Koulianos’ road to the NFL will not be easy, and I’m certain he knows this, too. One other factor to keep in mind is that with the current lockout in the NFL, if it doesn’t end before the 2011 NFL Draft on April 28, no undrafted players would be allowed to sign with any teams until the lockout is officially over.
In other words, if there’s still a lockout on draft day, and Johnson-Koulianos isn’t selected in the 2011 NFL Draft, he wouldn’t be allowed to sign with an NFL team right away.
Now if the lockout ends before the draft, it would be business as usual with undrafted free agents. But if not, it might be late summer before an undrafted rookie latches on with a team.
The good news for Johnson-Koulianos is that he had the chance to shine in front of NFL personnel on Monday. At least the teams who do have interest in bringing him aboard have the type of data needed to compare and contrast him from other wide receivers in this year’s class in addition to the game film of him already out there.
A lot can change between now and the end of April, but for the time being, I hope this analysis of Johnson-Koulianos’ Pro Day provided some perspective since most of the wide receivers that get selected in the draft will have performed in similar drills as to what Johnson-Koulianos did for NFL scouts on Monday.