By Joshua Needelman
Ryan Delaire had been in the operating room three weeks earlier, but that didn't stop the former Towson defensive end from running the 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine Feb. 22.
"I just wanted to show a lot of the teams that I was able to recover," Delaire said March 11 on Glenn Clark Radio.
After having arthroscopic knee surgery in late December, Delaire experienced another setback just weeks before the combine. With the NFL Draft looming, Delaire underwent a second knee surgery to repair a piece of loose cartilage in his joint three weeks before working out for NFL scouts.
Though he wasn't fully healthy, the Bloomfield, Conn., native competed anyway and completed the 40-yard dash in 4.95 seconds. He pulled his groin while running, and didn't participate in the rest of the day's activities.
Every year, a plethora of NFL hopefuls attend the combine in hopes of impressing professional organizations and elevating their draft stock. But that doesn't mean Delaire and former Towson teammate Tye Smith think it's an accurate barometer for judging a player's ability.
"A lot of these players, they just come from track and field backgrounds. They just know how to run a [40-yard dash]. It's something that they always practice," Delaire said. "Trying to take some guy that's just a football player, who never did any training, it might be difficult for them. But when you put on the game film, their film is extraordinary."
Delaire transferred to Towson from the University of Massachusetts after the 2012 season, and went on to become an integral member of the Tigers' defense. Last season, he compiled 11 sacks en route to earning third-team All-American honors.
But with his lackluster 40-yard dash time at the combine, Delaire's draft stock might have fallen.
"A lot of players in the combine, they were able to run a good time," Delaire said. "Their [40-yard dash time] may speak [for itself], but at the end of the day, you have to get on the football field. You have to perform. You're not going to run a [40-yard dash] when you're on the team."
Smith, though, had other issues with the event.
"It's more mental than it was physical," Smith said March 12 on Glenn Clark Radio. "The long days, and the questions they asked, and all the tests you have to go through before actually going on the field."
Before working out, Delaire said that players needed to undergo five hours of medical evaluations. Even if they weren't injured at the time, players had MRIs and X-rays taken.
"The medical part was ridiculous," Delaire said. "They even checked on things that probably sat me out for one day of practice. I had to do medicals on something like that."
Delaire will have an opportunity to redeem himself in front of scouts during Towson's pro day April 1, as will Smith, who ran a the 40-yard dash in 4.6 seconds at the combine.
Smith didn't put much stock into that showing, though.
"What I can run?" Smith said. "Fast."
For more from Delaire, listen to the full interview:
For more from Smith, listen to the full interview: