15 hundredths of a second between McClain and the other Top 10 middle linebackers. Big deal. At first I thought, “What’s that, a couple inches?”
Then I took the Wayback Machine to my high school days, inverted some fractions, cross multiplied, carried the one, and presto-chango — maybe it is a big deal.
A 4.5 guy runs 320 inches per second.
A 4.7 guy runs 306 inches per second.
So it’s about one foot per second, maybe two yards difference over the course of a six-second play (I don’t think the speed would factor much, if at all, in short time/short distance runs between the tackles).
So, potentially it is a very big deal.
Then I looked at the All-Pro middle linebackers since 2000. (Not scientific, just random sample of ESPN, AP, etc.)
The only real speed guy (I think) was Patrick Willis (4.35 or so). The rest were high 4.5s, or in the 4.6s or even a 4.7-something or two.
If anyone has the time and inclination, you could find the MLBs with the fastest 40s and see how they’ve performed in the NFL.
I guess my perspective is that speed is good, but it doesn’t appear to be the most significant factor in predicting how a MLB will perform.