Former Pitt offensive lineman Brian O’Neill has been in Indianapolis this week to take part in the NFL Scouting Combine, and on Friday, he put his athleticism on display, posting the fastest 40-yard dash among offensive linemen in addition to the fastest three-cone drill.
O’Neill started the day by running a 40-yard dash that was unofficially clocked at 4.80 seconds. It was later adjusted to an official 4.82 seconds, which was still the fastest 40 recorded by an offensive lineman. In fact, he was one of just four linemen to post a time under five seconds.
Had O’Neill’s unofficial time held up, it would have been better than the 4.82 run by Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff in 2016. However, with the adjustment, he fell into a tie with Goff but still bested Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston, who ran a 4.97 in 2015.
As the above stat suggests, O’Neill’s time was particularly outstanding for a member of a position group that typically includes the largest players on the field. The former Pitt lineman is no exception to that rule, as he checks in at 6’6” and 305 pounds, according to Pitt’s 2017 roster, and his time was actually the fastest at his position since 2013.
In that year’s combine, Terron Armstead ran a 4.71, with Lane Johnson finishing a hundredth of a second behind him at 4.72. At the time, those were the fastest 40-yard dashes recorded at the position in three years, which should underscore the rarity of O’Neill’s speed.
Of course, O’Neill’s 7.14-second three-cone drill, which also topped his position group, was perhaps even more impressive, as it was the fastest recorded by an offensive lineman since Lydon Murtha’s 7.06-second drill in 2009. O’Neill also finished in the top 15 at his position with a broad jump of eight feet and 11 inches and a 29.5-inch vertical jump.
Friday’s developments should come as no surprise to those familiar with O’Neill’s work, as he had a reputation for making athletic plays at Pitt. That earned him the 2016 Piesman Trophy in addition to a second nomination in 2017. He was also singled out as a potential first-round pick by ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper in January largely on the basis of his athleticism.
O’Neill fell out of the first round in a revised edition of Kiper’s mock draft released last week, but considering the performance he put on at the combine, his stock should be on the rise at exactly the right time, as the NFL draft is less than two months away.