Burkhead makes his case at NFL Combine

2013-02-24T20:52:00Z 2013-04-23T22:08:05Z Burkhead makes his case at NFL CombineBy BRIAN CHRISTOPHERSON / Lincoln Journal Star JournalStar.com

There’s four years of game film out there that can tell a much more detailed story. But, still, there must be this: the measurements, the cone drills, the stopwatches.

Rex Burkhead finished his trip through the meat market Sunday, ending his four-day adventure at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis.

Burkhead left the combine as a “top performer” in five testing categories at his position, but had one test that he might wish to improve on at Nebraska’s Pro Day on March 7.

Burkhead’s official 40-yard dash time was 4.73 seconds, which ranked 25th among the 33 running backs and fullbacks who ran at the combine.

That number won’t wow anyone, but also might not be a major detriment for Burkhead, who never has been considered a burner.

The fact the former Husker running back tested near the top at his position in most of the other drills could help make up for not running the 40 time he'd hoped for.

Measuring in at 5-foot-10 and 214 pounds, Burkhead ranked second among running backs in three categories: vertical leap (39 inches), broad jump (10 feet, 5 inches) and 20-yard shuttle run (:04.09).

He also was fourth at his position in the cone drill (:06.85) and fifth in the 60-yard shuttle run (:11.51).

“I’m just going to go out there and do my best, and however the cards fall, they fall,” Burkhead told reporters at the combine before his on-field testing. “I feel like I can do a lot of things, but it’s kind of up to the team if they want me or not.”

Burkhead said during his combine media interviews that one former Husker he consulted before heading to Indianapolis was running back Roy Helu.

What did Helu tell him?

“Have fun with it,” Burkhead said. “It’s a great opportunity, something you always dreamed about. So live it up and make the most of the opportunity you have when you get on the football field.”

Having spent time training at Bommarito Performance Systems in Miami, Burkhead told reporters he had run the 40 in the 4.4-second range during training.

If he chooses, Burkhead will have the opportunity to run it again for NFL talent evaluators at the NU's Pro Day at the Hawks Championship Center, which usually has proved to be a fast track for testing.

Whatever happens, there are two good examples of running backs who shined in their rookie seasons despite lacking blazing 40 times at last year's combine.

Alfred Morris posted a :04.67 at the combine and ended the past season second in the NFL in rushing. And Doug Martin, who ran a middle-of-the-pack 40 time of :04.55, ended his rookie season in the Pro Bowl.

Burkhead's 40 time actually was not far off two well-known Big Ten foes. Michigan State's Le'Veon Bell posted a :04.60 and Wisconsin's Montee Ball registered a :04.66.

Although Burkhead might want to use Pro Day as a chance to get into that same 4.6 range or better, it would be hard to complain about his other results.

Former Husker kicker Brett Maher, who did his on-field testing Saturday, might have even fewer complaints about his performance.

Maher made 14 of 15 kicks. That’s even better than Alex Henery, a fourth-round draft pick two years ago, who made 12 of 15 kicks at the combine.

With Maher and Burkhead now done with the combine experience, only one Husker remains.

Safety Daimion Stafford will be tested Tuesday when the defensive backs take their turn.

Reach Brian Christopherson at bchristopherson@journalstar.com or 402-473-7439. You can follow him on Twitter @HuskerExtraBC.

Copyright 2015 JournalStar.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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