Generally speaking, players that stand out at the combine often go on to thrive in the NFL, but there are some rare cases when prospects thoroughly light up the combine, but go on to flop at the next level.
What some football fanatics might not realize, however, is that numerous players have actually bombed the combine, but proceeded to become perennial stars in the NFL. Let's highlight some of those competitors, shall we?
6. Joe Haden
Haden established himself as the undisputed top cornerback after a stellar career at Florida, but the former Gator did anything but impress at the 2020 combine. His 4.57 40-yard dash and 35-inch vertical jump were among the worst tallies at the CB position. However, Haden was still drafted No. 7 overall by the Browns, and though he gets burned every now and then, he's widely considered one the game's best DBs.
5. Anquan Boldin
Boldin generated a ton of buzz coming out of Florida State, but he ranked dead-last among wide receivers with a 4.7 40-yard dash time. That saw him fall to the Cardinals at No. 54 overall in 2003, and boy, did that turn out to be a steal for Arizona. Boldin logged 1,076 receptions (ninth all-time) for 13,799 yards (13th all-time) and 82 touchdowns.
4. Justin Houston
Contrary to most players on this list, Houston actually killed all of his combine drills, amassing impressive grades across the board. However, the former Georgia Bulldog star failed a scheduled drug test, which saw a plethora of scouts question his discipline and maturity. That misstep saw Houston fall to the third round (!) where the Chiefs selected him with the No. 70 overall pick. As we know, Houston established himself as one of the league's best all-around linebackers. Through nine seasons, the four-time Pro Bowler has logged 89.5 sacks, 16 forced fumbles and 136 QB hits.
3. Terrell Suggs
Suggs' woeful 4.84 40-yard dash and equally-uninspiring 18 bench press reps forced scouts to question the Arizona State star's motivation. Ironic, right? Of course, Suggs has established himself as one of the most terrorizing and decorated linebackers in NFL history. The seven-time Pro Bowler ranks first all-time in tackles for loss (202), 11th all-time in forced fumbles (37), and eighth in sacks (139).
2. Antonio Brown
Imagine being brash enough to question Antonio Brown's athleticism after watching him develop into one of the greatest receivers of his generation? Well, it wasn't supposed to be like this. Brown ran a mundane 4.56-second 40 alongside a 33.5-inch vertical. Most glaring, however, was his 8-foot-9-inch broad jump, which was the worst tally among receivers in the 2010 class. Those measly numbers saw the Central Michigan product fall to Steelers in the sixth round, 195 picks later.
1. Tom Brady
To think that Tom freaking Brady was overlooked in the ordinary 2000 quarterback class is mind-boggling. His historically-woeful 5.28-second 40 was somehow the second-worst in his class. His laughable mobility and suspect arm strength were enough to dissuade NFL teams for the first 199 picks, but he fell into the Patriots' lap. You know how Brady's story has unfolded, folks. There's a reason he's widely regarded as the GOAT.