‘No slower than 4.5’: N’Keal Harry goes inside his combine experience

N’Keal Harry, a wide receiver prospect out of Arizona State, is expected to be picked in the first two rounds of this year’s NFL draft. To help his draft stock, Harry needed a strong performance at the combine, specifically in the 40-yard dash. Harry, as told to ESPN’s Josh Weinfuss, describes his combine experience.

I took everything day by day.

Thursday night [at the combine], I was just thinking about the [bench press] over and over in my head, and after the bench was over, that’s when I started thinking about the 40 and the position drills and everything, just constantly and constantly going through them in my head.

I knew that’s what people were looking for, but I wasn’t thinking too much of the 40. It wasn’t in my head that the 40 is, like, everything. I was still focused on the position work, the vertical, the broad jump. I wasn’t just completely focused on the 40.

I just tried to keep everything the same.

I was just envisioning me doing what I do. Going down the gantlet. Getting in my stance in the 40. Just going over my technique in my head. In my head, I just envisioned me doing everything extremely smooth and trying to get a feel for it, trying to get a mindset for it. That’s the mindset I wanted to go into the day with. I do that a lot of the time at night before games. I envision myself making big plays, just things like that. I just go over it in my head a lot.

[The night before running the 40] I just took a shower, laid in bed. I really didn’t do too much. I was thinking about it a little bit, but not too long, and I fell asleep fairly quickly.

When you get [on the field at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis], it’s a whole different story.

You can’t think about it too much. You can’t get too amped up, especially because I knew I might not run for another three, four hours. I was genuinely having fun, genuinely enjoying the moment. There was a lot going on throughout the days, so I just tried to have the most positive attitude I could. And I was just really enjoying my time there.

I knew that people were criticizing my speed, people were expecting me to run a 4.7 or 4.6. That was never an option in my head. I was just kind of in my zone.

I was just waiting to run it just to prove I had speed. I knew I had a lot more speed than people thought I did. I was just waiting to showcase it.

In moments like that, I get more excited than nervous. I just listened to music, just really enjoyed myself, started dancing, started singing something. Just really enjoyed the moment. There were so many songs I was listening to. It wasn’t like a specific song. I couldn’t even name the song I was listening to. I just had my phone on shuffle.

No slower than a 4.5 — I was telling myself that throughout my whole process.

Our times actually are not in the stadium. We had to check our phones to see our times. It wasn’t like I looked up and saw my time [4.59 seconds on the first run]. But after I checked my phone, I definitely wasn’t satisfied with the first time.

You definitely have to keep your composure. It wasn’t like I was mad, like raging. Just hungry. Just trying to motivate myself. Just trying to get ready for the next run. I knew I had more in me. I was just trying to get ready and do whatever I could do to get it out.

I was just worried about improving my time the second time. I just tried to be more aggressive on my start.

I wasn’t completely satisfied [with my second run of 4.54]. I could deal with it. It was decent.

I didn’t really check my phone until after everything else. I didn’t see [my official time of 4.53 seconds] until I was done for the day. It’s a bit of sense of relief. There’s always room for improvement. I’m always thinking of ways I could have done it better. That’s just the type of person I am. That’s just how I think.

I feel like it went very well. I was praying a lot while I was there. The draft is such a tricky thing, but I don’t think I hurt my draft stock. I’m not going to say I know how much it helped my draft stock, but I feel like it helped. It’s hard to say.

I feel like I put some of the doubts to rest. But, you know, I just know there’s always something I can work on. I didn’t really even try to think about that. My biggest thought was just what I could do to get better.

I’m not 100 percent satisfied, but I’m not disappointed. So I’m kind of right in the middle. It’s tolerable. I can tolerate that time.

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