For decades, you could set your mock drafts to send those physical freaks at the combine to Oakland. It’s why each year we put together the Al Davis Memorial Combine Freak Team. So, it is not at all surprising that with SB Nation’s list of the greatest ever Combine performances, there was a significant Raiders presence.
There was no one at quarterback, mainly because that may be the one position Al Davis preferred size and arm strength to things like speed and jumping ability.
But at running back, there was none other than the incomparable Bo Jackson and it mythic 4.12 40-yard-dash.
Then at wide receiver 2009 7th overall pick Darrius Heyward-Bey makes the list as the biggest player (6-2, 210) to ever crack a 4.3 at the combine.
On the offensive line there was former Raiders draft pick Bruce Campbell. After the 6-6, 314-pounder ran a 4.85 40 and benched 34 reps of 225 pounds, many had the Raiders using their top pick on him at 8th overall. The Raiders went with Alabama linebacker Rolando McClain instead and to their credit, waited until the 4th round round to take a chance on Campbell. In between they got Lamarr Houston in the 2nd round and Jared Veldheer in the third.
Dontari Poe made the list along the defensive line. The Raiders didn’t have a chance to draft him in 2012, but he’s a free agent now, so they can always get another crack at him.
Likewise, none of the linebackers on the list were Raiders, but they did have two of the fastest linebackers in the combine over the past 12 years, drafting Thomas Howard (4.42) in the second round and signing Jon Alston (4.40) after one season in St Louis.
Shockingly, the only DB on the list to play for the Raiders was Taylor Mays, who was a second round pick by the 49ers and played just his final season for the Raiders in 2015.
That’s shocking considering no position was more important to Al Davis than cornerback when it came to speed than defensive back. Former third round pick Demarcus Van Dyke had the fastest combine time (4.28) in the past 12 years, just beating out Raiders former 4th round pick Tyvon Branch (4.31) whose time is still top four.