It's always first and foremost about speed, or so it seems, when the NFL goes shopping for cornerbacks.
But Redskins cornerback and NFL Network guest analyst DeAngelo Hall doesn't think it should be about just that, or even that speed is the most important characteristic an NFL pass-coverage candidate must possess.
"I think that's the biggest misconception in this league as a corner is that everyone has to be a 4.3 guy, a 4.4 guy (in the 40-yard dash)," Hall maintained during his NFL Combine coverage. "That's just the icing on the cake. If you can run it helps you make mistakes and recover. But if you have great technique and you want to compete, you have a chance to be a great corner."
Wide receivers are getting bigger, which means defensive backs in general and cornerbacks in particular must be bigger, as well.
"The answer for the defensive side is longer corners, so there's a quest to find those gifted, longer press corners, a la Richard Sherman," NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said.
Hall remains more impressed by what he sees on tape than measurables.
"Everybody wants a big, physical corner," said Hall, a 5-foot-10, 193-pound three-time Pro Bowl cornerback. "But give me a guy with good feet and ball skills and we'll be all right."
That's not to suggest exceptional speed and an abundance of size don't make a player especially coveted.
The 4.31 in the 40 that was run by Michigan State's Trae Waynes on Monday was perceived as having rubber-stamped Waynes' selection in the first round.
"He just made a statement about 'I want to be the No. 1 corner in this draft,'" said Mayock, who speculated Waynes (6-0, 186) could go anywhere from sixth overall to the New York Jets, to 11th overall to the Minnesota Vikings, to 13th overall to the New Orleans Saints, to 14th overall to the Miami Dolphins, to 15th overall to the San Francisco 49ers, to 20th overall to the Philadelphia Eagles.
Waynes' former Michigan State teammate, cornerback Darqueze Dennard, was taken 24th overall last year by Cincinnati.
"He's faster than Dennard," Mayock said of Waynes. "He's comfortable in press coverage. He's smart, he's tough, and he tackles."
One of the cornerbacks who made the biggest splash on Monday in Indianapolis didn't even run the 40-yard dash.
Byron Jones of Connecticut exploded to the tune of 12 feet, three inches in the broad jump (the best by any player at the combine since 2003) and 44 inches in the vertical leap.
Jones (6-1, 199) didn't run the 40 because he's coming off recent shoulder surgery. He'll do that on March 31 at his Pro Day but NFL Network analyst Steve Mariucci already has a pretty good idea that Jones will be plenty fast enough.
"This kid has some explosiveness," Mariucci gushed. "When you jump like that, your 40 will correlate into a heck of a 40."
NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah had Jones as the No. 50 player available entering the Combine, but even Jeremiah was impressed.
"I didn't know he was going to do what he did," he acknowledged.
Big, fast, what have you; every team needs quality cornerbacks.
"It's a pass-first league," Mayock said. "They're spreading the field a lot like college football. You can't have enough cover corners. You can't have enough corners."
NFL Network analyst Deion Sanders concurs.
"There's a correlation that two of the best corners in the game were in the Super Bowl," said Sanders, apparently referencing Sherman and New England's Darrelle Revis. "There's always a need for a corner."