How badly did Joe Haden hurt himself?
By Terry OBrien
Joe Haden posted a 4.6 40 yard time at the combine. Some scouts claim Golden Tate ran the 40 in the mid 4.3 range. That means if Golden Tate ran a fly pattern, Joe Haden would have to turn around and try to keep up with him. Golden Tate would quickly gain seperation and begin to pull away if the ball was led properly. In the NFL, a tenth of a second is enough to gain an advantage, a quarter of a second is a lifetime.
So Joe Haden opened up a lot of questions. Here is what will be going through scouts and GM’s minds right now:
“Maybe the Florida front seven made him look good”. “Maybe Joe Haden wasn’t challenged by elite speed”. “Maybe we need to go back an look to through the tape again”.
I remember in the Sugar Bowl half way through the first quarter, Cincinnati tries a flea-flicker. Tony Pike pitches to Isaiah Pead who heads for the right side, then throws back to Pike. Tony Pike, with no pressure, throws deep to tight end Ben Guidugli. I thought the play was brilliant and the pass slightly, ever so slightly, under thrown. Joe Haden closed, leaped and knocked the ball away.
He made a very good play. I don’t remember Joe Haden being challenged after that. I do remember how well Haden tracked the ball and timed his leap.
I guess I am simply having a problem believing Joe Haden will be a liability in the NFL. I am having trouble believing he has true 4.6 speed and nothing faster. If this is true and he is that slow, there is no way he can be a star in the NFL. Malcolm Jenkins ran a 4.53 40 at the combine and was still drafted as a corner back, but hasn’t produced as an elite corner for the Saints. In fact, he has been a bit of a disappointment. If 4.53 is bad speed, 4.60 is terrible.
I am still having trouble digesting this. I can’t believe Joe Haden is that slow. I can’t believe he was helped so much by the Florida defensive line that he lacks top NFL talent. This just doesn’t make sense to me.
Joe Haden is a smart football player and has the ability to get into position quickly. He plays fast. He reacts fast. On March 17th, he will have a chance to redeem himself when he runs for his pro day. If he puts up a 4.45 40 time, he will still leave questions, but less so. I can’t be sure, but this combine result might be a fluke, but it might be just the kind of fluke that falls in favor for the Jaguars. Joe Haden might have left just enough doubt to allow him to be an option for the Jaguars. I can’t believe Florida is a team the Jaguars don’t know very very well. Gene Smith knows if Joe Haden’s times are real of not. Just like in 2009 when somehow Eugene Monroe fell to Jacksonville, Joe Haden might be a gift in 2010. I hope so.
But then again, he might be the slowest corner back on the planet. I doubt it. Joe Haden will redeem himself and hopefully be a Jaguar.
If anyone reading this has any insight, please post a comment! Thanks!
– Terry O’Brien