Unlike Arkansas' Darren McFadden or Oregon's Jonathan Stewart, Albert Young needed a break to move onto the radar of NFL teams as the draft approaches later this month. Young may have made his break on March 24 during Iowa's pro day.
The Hawkeye running back ran his 40-yard dash in the 4.5 range. While it isn't 4.33 of McFadden or the 4.48 of Stewart – two guys likely to hear their names called early in the selection process – Iowa's third all-time leading rusher showed he's a viable candidate to play at the next level.
"Yeah, that's what I'm hearing," Young said when asked if he ran in the 4.5s. "I guess you can say that there's no official time. That's why they say it's in that range because each team takes their time. But I heard it's in that range. If that's right, I'm really happy with it."
Young told hawkeyenation.com back in January that pro player personnel wanted to see is speed. He showed during his career at Iowa that he could run with the ball, catch and block. NFL people needed to see certain numbers. There's a threshold, if you will.
In 2005, Young finished in the Top 10 for the Doak Walker award given to the nation's top back. He rushed for 1,334 yards, the 17th best total in the nation. His 125.2 yards per game in conference play led the Big Ten.
Young's junior season was marred by injury and his senior campaign was hampered by an otherwise inexperienced offense. He still managed 968 yards rushing (4.7 per carry) and another 212 in receptions.
Iowa's pro day answered a lot of questions for the scouts, Young said.
"It went well. It went real well," he said. "I helped myself out a lot. I ran well and that's what teams really wanted to see. My position drills went well. So, I put myself in a good position. It's all out of my hands now, but I'm happy with what put up."
Young was confident he could run fast enough to appease his audience.
"There was no doubt that I thought that I could run that," he said. "That was the plan to be in the 4.5s. Really, I was looking for a 4.4999. Everything is all about perception."
The Eagles invited Young to Philadelphia for a workout on April 9. Though he didn't grow up a fan of the team, it's the closest franchise to his home in Southern New Jersey.
Philadelphia has called upon Iowa football in recent years. Safeties Sean Considine and Marcus Paschal were on the roster last season, the former as a starter.
"I was talking to (Iowa) Coach (Kirk) Ferentz (Tuesday)," Young said. "He thought it would be a good fit because of Marcus and Sean and (Eagles Coach) Andy Reid. He said Andy Reid gives a fair chance when guys come in."
One of the guys Reid afforded a chance was Brian Westbrook out of Division I-AA Villanova. The running back has earned pro bowl recognition after piling up combined rushing and receiving totals in the 2,000-yard neighborhood each of the last two years.
Young also brings that package of well-rounded running back.
"We're guys that are able to do everything," Young said. "In that aspect, our games are comparable. But that's about it. He's elite. He's the best back in the league, to tell you the truth."
The Eagles have company in courting Young. Kansas City, Minnesota and Arizona are showing interest as are others.
"A bunch of people call, but you've got to take everything with a grain of salt," Young said. "You can talk to a team all you want and a team that you never heard from can wind up picking you up. I really don't put too much into it."
Young's future is in the hands of fate now.
"I feel good just because it's over with," he said. "We're done with doing combine work. Now it's time to gear up towards really playing the game. That's what we're in it for. Our workouts are geared towards football now not towards running an agility drill or doing a vertical jump.
"Things are really out of our hands now. And that's fine. That's what we obsessed about. We were worried about that combine or that pro day. Now we can let our games speak for themselves. We just wait for draft day and go from there."