UCLA head coach Jim Mora was one of the few who successsfully broke through the free-agent noise Tuesday when he tweeted that linebacker Anthony Barr ran the 40-yard dash in an electronically timed 4.45 seconds at his pro day. That unofficial time was a whopping .22-second improvement over Barr's time at the NFL Scouting Combine last month and should further fuel the debate on the top linebacker in this year's draft.
But the time was also met with plenty of skepticism, and rightfully so. It's one thing to improve a little on your time from the combine, but a drop of .22 seconds is nearly unheard of. Mora emphasized afterward that the Bruins' times he reported were simply what the timers gave him.
"People are going to hear that and go, 'That's insane. You don't have that many fast guys,'" Mora said. "Again, these are electronic times," Mora said, according to a tweet by Ryan Kartje. "If I was out there scouting and I heard that, I'd say, 'I don't know about that.' But once again, they're pretty true times."
The numbers put up in Westwood caused more head-scratching when the program listed six -- yes, six -- 40 times of under 4.4 seconds by Bruins at the pro day, according to Bruins strength and conditioning coach Sal Alosi.
For comparison's sake, there were only seven official times under 4.4 seconds at the combine this year. UCLA cornerback Aaron Hesterran a 4.53 at last year's pro day; according to Alosi's tweet, he ran a 4.37 on Tuesday. Receiver Shaq Evans on Tuesday apparently shaved .19 seconds off his 4.51 time from the combine.
So everybody has a right to be skeptical. And let's face it, everybody in the pro community will take these times with a grain of salt, anyway. NFL scouts will stick to the ones they personally recorded at the events or what was recorded at the combine. Always have, always will.
While Barr and the other Bruins very well might have been a little faster in LA than they were in Indianapolis, the times themselves didn't matter.
Mora knows this from his days in the NFL and is simply doing what he has to do in his new role in college: selling the program. He made several references Tuesday to Alosi, who once was the strength and conditioning coach for the Jets and the Falcons. Mora has good players, and you can bet he's telling recruits he needs some more to come join him.
So be skeptical of those 40 times, but don't blame Mora. He's selling a "Bruin Revolution" and doing a fine job of it, judging by the number of draftees he's churning out and UCLA's preseason ranking in 2014. When he chats with a recruit next, there should be plenty of talking points.