At NFL combine, players’ hopes can be dashed all at once

Reporting from Indianapolis – For many NFL prospects, life begins at 40 (yards).

Covering that distance in a scorching time — as Clemson’s Jacoby Ford did Sunday at the NFL scouting combine — can turn the heads of potential employers, just as a slow 40 time can send a player’s draft stock

into a tailspin.

According to an NFL scout who, along with dozens of others, was keeping his own stopwatch on Ford, the 5-foot-8, 182-pound receiver clocked in at hand times ranging between 4.18 and 4.23 seconds. The official

(electronic) combine record is 4.24, set in 2008 by Chris Johnson, now of the Tennessee Titans.