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INDIANAPOLIS -- NFL executives need the results of medical exams here to know that a player they draft is healthy. They need to talk with a player to get a sense of his personality, to see how he relates. But more than anything, the scouts who flock here each year come to see speed.

And it's always a disappointment when someone doesn't choose to run in the timed 40-yard sprints, like Michael Crabtree, the Texas Tech receiver who might be the best athlete in the draft.

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Crabtree knows how important the 40 is to his image and his draft position. So he's chosen not to run here to given his high ankle sprain more time to heal. He hurt it during a game against Baylor and aggravated it in the Cotton Bowl game. He said he's only started running in the last four or five weeks.

Crabtree knows that a reasonable 40 time will make him the first wide-out off the board, perhaps a top four pick or better. And he knows a poor 40 will be hard to overlook, all the comparisons to Larry Fitzgerald notwithstanding.

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Hakeem Nicks of North Carolina is another receiver for whom the 40 time will loom large. A good time -- in the low 4.4's -- could vault him into the first round. A time of 4.5 or worse would almost certainly drop him into the second round. And it's not just the honor of going in the first round; you're talking about losing a lot of money going in the second. Nicks said he'll run here, and that makes the scouts happy.

Veteran NFL and Ravens writer Ken Murray is covering the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis for The Baltimore Sun. He will keep you updated on developments daily.

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