On June 26th, Razzball’s own, B_Don @RazzBDon, was Twittering with someone about the legitimacy of Gardner Minshew’s rushing ability.
Gardner Minshew ran a slower 40 time than Peyton Manning. You can’t say that about Josh Allen because he rushed for 631 yards his rookie season and had 767 rushing yards in college. Minshew rushed for 43 yards in his college career and then 344 last year.
— B_Don (@RazzBDon) June 26, 2020
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:
|NAME||YEAR||RUSH YDS||40 TIME|
|Kyler Murray||2019||544||4.38 (unofficial)|
|Robert Griffin III||2012||815||4.41|
|Robert Griffin III||2013||489||4.41|
81 times it’s happened, but by only 31 different quarterbacks.
Here’s the breakdown in terms of 40 time:
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.
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:
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.