At the 2006 NFL Scouting Combine, Vernon Davis put on a show.
The tight end out of Maryland was a top performer at his position in nearly every drill, which included breaking combine records in both the broad jump (10-8) and 40-yard dash (4.38).
His performance at the combine propelled Davis into the Top 10 of the 2006 NFL Draft, where he was selected sixth overall by the San Francisco 49ers.
At the 2017 NFL Scouting Combine, Washington TE Darrell Daniels plans on knocking Davis off his perch as the fastest tight end in NFL history.
"My main goal is to improve my 40 time so I can shock the world," Daniels told Bear Report.
Daniels, a projected mid- to late-round pick who ran in the low 4.4s his senior season, believes he'll run a 4.37 in Indianapolis this year.
"It’s definitely one of my goals," Daniels said. "I'm out here working on it at Ford Sports (in Seattle) and I should be reaching my goal here pretty soon."
Playing at 231 last year, Daniels has recently added more than 20 pounds. At 6-4, 254, Daniels is now similar in size to Davis (6-3, 248) as well, so if he does run a 4.37, he'll instantly gain the attention of every NFL team.
"I think that would shoot me up a lot of draft boards," he said.
Daniels played wide receiver at Freedom High School in California and caught 20 touchdown passes his senior year. He was converted to tight end midway through his freshman year at Washington.
"It was a business decision with coach [Steve] Sarkisian and his staff," said Daniels. "They wanted to try me out closer to the ball and create mismatches going against linebackers. Plus we had a lot of talent outside, so they thought I’d make a good compliment to them."
As a senior in 2016, he averaged 18.1 yards per catch, demonstrating his speed and field-stretching ability nearly every time he touched the ball. Yet he caught just 17 passes last season and only 47 the last three years combined, so NFL teams will surely scrutinize his lack of top-tier production.
"It was just the offensive scheme. We had playmakers on the outside and we had a young quarterback who didn’t really look my way that much," he said. "But I embraced my role and my situation and did whatever I could to help my team and I did it to the best of my ability."
Other than what he offers in the passing game, Daniels also has a lot of experience as an edge blocker.
"I take a lot of pride in blocking. Blocking is all effort. I embraced the situation and I gave 100-percent effort every time I blocked and I ended up doing great things."
In addition, Daniels played special teams throughout his collegiate career, giving him added value to NFL teams.
"I love playing on special teams. Being on special teams, I take it just as serious as playing tight end."
Beyond his speed and experience, Daniels is also a high-character athlete who won the Make-A-Wish Award at the team's postseason banquet.
"I took a lot of pride in that," he said. "I was actually very proud to be part of something like that. Giving back to those kids and holding those kids’ hands as we went out for the coin toss and seeing the smiles on their faces, that was just a very enjoyable for me to be able to connect with those kids.
"I’m a good person and I make sure I do right off the field even when nobody is looking. I feel like everybody wants a good guy and a great football player and I want to be the whole package for an NFL team."
The Chicago Bears, who are in the market for a pass-catching tight end with speed, have already met with Daniels.
"It was great. We had a good conversation. I feel like they’re pretty confident in me."
The Bears will be much more confident in Daniels if he breaks Davis' long-standing 40-yard-dash record at the upcoming combine. Although if he does, Daniels will instantly become a household name among NFL teams and draftniks alike.
"I’m definitely going to be ready for that," Daniels said. "There’s nothing that I can’t handle. I can handle any situation."null