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On June 26th, Razzball’s own, B_Don @RazzBDon, was Twittering with someone about the legitimacy of Gardner Minshew’s rushing ability.

I immediately headed over to PlayerProfiler.com and typed in Peyton Manning. 4.90 40-yard dash time. Whoa. Gardner Minshew? 4.97. Now, Minshew’s college rushing production is skewed because he only attempted 38 rushes for -76 yards in two years at East Carolina, while he rushed 58 times for 119 yards in his one year at Washington State, but the 40-time and comparison to Manning picqued my interest, so I scurried down the rabbit hole to explore. Here’s what I found:

My first query was for seasons in which any quarterback in the history of the league rushed for at least 340 yards. I used that number because Minshew accumulated 344 yards on the ground last season. The results brought 136 instances, but there were players I couldn’t get 40-yard times from, such as Bob Davis from 1944 and Johnny Lujack from 1950. As a result, I decided on using the arbitrary year of 1999 for this piece. Why 1999? Well, 20 years of data is a reasonable sample size and 1999 was the first year when 40 times were timed electronically.

Here’s the list by 40 time:

NAMEYEARRUSH YDS40 TIME
Lamar Jackson201912064.34
Lamar Jackson20186954.34
Michael Vick200610394.38
Michael Vick20049024.38
Michael Vick20027774.38
Michael Vick20106764.38
Michael Vick20055974.38
Michael Vick20115894.38
Kyler Murray20195444.38 (unofficial)
Robert Griffin III20128154.41
Terrelle Pryor20135764.41
Robert Griffin III20134894.41
Vince Young20073954.48
Tyrod Taylor20165804.51
Tyrod Taylor20155684.51
Tyrod Taylor20174274.51
Daunte Culpepper20026094.52
Kordell Stewart20015374.52
Daunte Culpepper20004704.52
Kordell Stewart20004364.52
Daunte Culpepper20034224.52
Daunte Culpepper20014164.52
Daunte Culpepper20044064.52
Marcus Mariota20183574.52
Marcus Mariota20163494.52
Colin Kaepernick20146394.53
Colin Kaepernick20135244.53
Colin Kaepernick20164684.53
Colin Kaepernick20124154.53
Russell Wilson20148494.55
Russell Wilson20175864.55
Russell Wilson20155534.55
Russell Wilson20135394.55
Russell Wilson20124894.55
Russell Wilson20183764.55
Russell Wilson20193424.55
Vince Young20065524.58
Rich Gannon20005294.58
Cam Newton20177544.59
Cam Newton20127414.59
Cam Newton20117064.59
Cam Newton20156364.59
Cam Newton20135854.59
Cam Newton20145394.59
Cam Newton20184884.59
Geno Smith20133664.59
Cam Newton20163594.59
Aaron Brooks20013584.59
Donovan McNabb20006294.64
Donovan McNabb20014824.64
Donovan McNabb20024604.64
Donovan McNabb20033554.64
Deshaun Watson20185514.66
Deshaun Watson20194134.66
Mitchell Trubisky20184214.67
Andrew Luck20133774.67
Andrew Luck20163414.67
Doug Flutie19994764.7
Steve McNair20024404.7
Steve McNair20014144.7
Steve McNair20004034.7
Tim Tebow20116604.71
Aaron Rodgers20163694.71
Aaron Rodgers20103564.71
Aaron Rodgers20153444.71
Josh Allen20186314.75
Josh Allen20195104.75
Shaun King20003534.77
Alex Smith20154984.78
Alex Smith20134314.78
Tyler Thigpen20083864.78
Alex Smith20173554.78
Dak Prescott20173574.79
DeShone Kizer20174194.83
Blake Bortles20144194.93
Blake Bortles20183654.93
Blake Bortles20163594.93
Josh Freeman20103644.97
Gardner Minshew20193444.97
Jeff Garcia2000414NA
Jeff Garcia2002353NA

81 times it’s happened, but by only 31 different quarterbacks.

Here’s the breakdown in terms of 40 time:

sub 4.402
4.4-4.52
4.51-4.611
4.61-4.75
4.71-4.86
4.81-4.91
over 4.93
NA1

The sweet spot for quarterbacks is in the 4.51-4.6 range, but I want to focus on one in the over 4.9 range: Blake Bortles. He rushed for over 344 times three times in his career but, over his career, he rushed for over 300 yards in every season as a starter for the Jaguars

YEARATTEMPTSYARDS
201456419
201552310
201658359
201757322
201858365

Very interesting. 

Now, for those of you who think Minshew’s 40 time is slow, it’s all relative. The average person probably couldn’t break the 5.0 barrier. More than likely, their times would be closer to 6. Here are the average times by position for NFL players:

POSITION40 TIME
WR4.48
CB4.48
RB4.49
FS4.53
SS4.55
OLB4.65
TE4.7
ILB4.76
FB4.8
DE4.8
QB4.93
DT5.06
C5.3
OT5.32
OG5.36

Minshew may be slow in relation to a wide receiver, but he’s close to average for the quarterback position, and he’s definitely faster than the average human. The Lamar Jacksons and Russell Wilsons of the world are outliers. That’s why they are elites at their position, but a 4.97 40 time isn’t a death knell for rushing production. 

Rushing production comes down to intent. If Manning wanted to gain more yards on the ground, he probably could have, but he would rather slice and dice defenses through the air. Players like Bortles and Minshew may not have the fastest 40 times, but they’ve shown that when the opportunity to run is there, they are more than willing. 

So, Minshew’s rushing production from last season may not be an outlier and should not be dismissed when evaluating his fantasy prospects for 2020.