Former Georgia Tech wide receiver Darren Waller wanted to finish the 40-yard dash at the NFL draft combine in under 4.5 seconds.
Waller was timed in 4.46 seconds, tied for the 17th fastest time out of the 39 wide receivers who ran in Indianapolis Saturday. Waller also tested well in the 60-yard shuttle (11.35 seconds, fourth among wide receivers), broad jump (125 inches, tied for sixth) and vertical jump (37 inches, tied for 10th).
The 40 time and the jumps demonstrate Waller’s explosiveness. Coupled with his size (6-foot-6, 238 pounds), it will undoubtedly appeal to NFL teams looking for a wide receiver or tight end, which teams have asked him about playing.
Waller also had 12 bench-press reps at 225 pounds, a time of 7.07 seconds in the cone drill and 4.25 seconds in the 20-yard shuttle.
NFL.com gave him a grade of 5.4, classifying him as a likely NFL backup or special teamer. The website’s summary of Waller:
“Late bloomer who is faster than quick and has coveted size-speed combination. Waller isn’t just a tall receiver, he has legitimate hands and body control and can impose his size on mismatched cornerbacks. Waller has a low floor, but with a little more competitive fire and technique work, he could become a legitimate touchdown maker in the league.”
Former Tech receiver DeAndre Smelter was in Indianapolis but did not participate in drills as he is coming back from an ACL tear suffered in the Georgia game. Smelter was graded as a 5.47, in the same category as Waller. He was compared with NFL veteran Eric Decker. Smelter’s report:
“Smelter is a former baseball player with outstanding hand-eye coordination. Both will have entered the draft with questions lingering about a season-ending injury (Lisfranc for Decker). Smelter is an uber-athlete with a background of excellence in every sport he has played. He plays well beyond his experience level at wide receiver. His toughness, natural instincts and football intelligence should earn him a spot on a depth chart, provided there are no lasting effects from his ACL tear.”