Florida's Haden ran 40 with back sprain

For most people, it’s hard to imagine that a couple tenths of a second could cost a person millions of dollars.

But that just happens to be the reality of the NFL draft—and it’s a reality that Florida cornerback Joe Haden has been living for the last few weeks.

Haden—regarded by many as the top cornerback prospect in this year’s draft class—ran a disappointing 4.57 and 4.60 in the 40-yard-dash at the NFL combine in February, prompting many to speculate that the former Gator’s draft stock could be falling.

However, the cornerback’s father and trainer, Joe Haden Sr., says the poor times were a result of a lower back sprain the 20-year-old has been nursing, according to Ben Volin of the Palm Beach Post.

“We had stopped doing some of the heavier lifting, but it just stiffened up on him, one of those things,” Haden Sr. told Volin. “It just really affected him. I wish I had known, because I would have had him not even work out.”

Poor 40 time or not, the 5’11”, 190-pound Haden is still the cream of the crop in this year’s draft class when it comes to the cornerback position. He recorded 197 tackles and eight interceptions over his last three years at Florida, earning All-American honors in 2009. The young cornerback proved time and time again—which you can see on the tape—that he had the skill set and athleticism to match-up with some of the country’s elite wide receivers (i.e. Mardy Gilyard and Julio Jones).

The good news for the Haden doubters is that he’s got another chance to improve on his 40 time from Indy when Florida hosts its pro day on March 17 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

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