It happens every year at the NFL Combine. Some prospect posts a blazing 40 time, one beyond expectations, and his draft stock resembles Bear Stearns circa 2006. Then he gets drafted and with some NFL time his stock turns into Bear Stearns circa 2008.
We may have our next 4.3 man, Pitt WR Jonathan Baldwin. Yes, there is talk that the 6'5" 230 lbs receiver could run in the 4.3 second range at the Combine. What's that mean for the St. Louis Rams?
If that happens, expect there to be plenty of debate about Baldwin. Some pundits will have him marked as a pick in the middle of the first round, others will have the same opinion and warn of prospect over-valuation. Put Bunting in the later camp based on his subsequent tweet in which he notes that Baldwin doesn't play anywhere near that fast.
Why does this matter to the St. Louis Rams? Because If Baldwin's draft stock, currently seen as a late first round or second round pick, blows up, more and more pundits will connect him to the Rams with the #14 pick, especially once people start realizing that Julio Jones could easily get picked in one of the top 13 spots.
Fortunately, Al Davis doesn't make draft decisions for the Rams, and GM Billy Devaney has never been one easily wowed by a speedy 40 time. If anything, Devaney's been criticized more for a cautious approach to first round picks, particularly with the Jason Smith pick in 2009.
Baldwin's a tricky prospect to judge after a college career marked with inconsistency and poor play surrounding him. With his size and potential track speed, he has all the qualities that will lure someone, some team. Translating those qualities into NFL consistency and stardom will be the challenge.