While the 40-yard dash provides speedsters with the opportunity to impress scouts with their legs, the best NFL combine bench press workouts since 1999 have given college football hopefuls the chance to show off with their upper bodies. And man, can some of these guys get after it.
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The NFL Scouting Combine bench press test is equal parts stamina and strength. Each player has 225 pounds racked on the barbell and attempts as many reps as possible under their arms finally tire out.
As you can see in the chart below, only 16 athletes have reached 40 or more repetitions, including the best post-2000 performance by Stephen Paea.
Stephen Paea – 49 Reps
Born in New Zealand, Paea attended Oregon State where he finished his career with 56 solo tackles, 14 sacks, and 9 forced fumbles. He was named All-Pac-12 First Team his junior season while also taking home the Morris Trophy for best defensive lineman in the conference.
His incredible 49 reps at the 2011 combine only improved his stock. The Bears selected him with the 53rd pick of the second round in that year's NFL Draft. After stints with Washington and Cleveland, Paea signed a one-year deal with the Cowboys in March of 2017 and won the starting job during the preseason. Sadly, nagging knee injuries forced him to retire in October at the young age of just 29.
16 Best NFL Combine Bench Press Workouts
|51||Justin Ernest||Eastern Kentucky||DT||1999|
|49||Stephen Paea||Oregon State||DT||2011|
|45||Mike Kudla||Ohio State||DL||2006|
|44||Brodrick Bunkley||Florida State||NT||2006|
|42||Tank Tyler||North Carolina State||DT||2007|
|42||Russell Bodine||North Carolina||C||2014|
|41||Terna Nande||Miami (OH)||LB||2006|