It isn’t the fastest recorded time ever at the NFL Draft Combine, but 4.50 seconds in the 40-yard dash is still blazing. Add that speed to a 6’3”, 248-pound defensive end like Seattle Seahawks first-round pick Bruce Irvin—who was the fastest lineman clocked in 2012—and you create a nightmare for quarterbacks.
Bigger, stronger, and faster is the name of the game for college and professional football. And now, according to a new study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, there’s data to back up what we’ve been seeing players morph into on the field over the past 70 years.
Researchers at Grand Valley State University did an analysis of the average height, weight, and body fat percentage of college and professional football players from 1942 to 2011. While players at all positions gained weight over time and increased body fat, one of the most striking statistics was that college interior linemen gained about 1 to 2 pounds per year over 60 years, and professional players gained up to 1.5 pounds per year over 7 decades.