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Why Brady Christensen may have been real story of the day during BYU’s pro day

While social media was ablaze marveling at Zach Wilson’s epic throw, the numbers Christensen posted were also on fire

Offensive lineman Brady Christensen participates in the 20-yard shuttle during BYU pro day in Provo on Friday, March 26, 2021.
Offensive lineman Brady Christensen participates in the 20-yard shuttle during BYU pro day in Provo on Friday, March 26, 2021.
Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

The 3-inch journey was big for Brady Christensen.

He shattered the myth that he wasn’t an athletic football player.

When you are 6-foot-6, weigh over 300 pounds and doing the standing broad jump for NFL scouts on pro day, hopping an extra 3 inches is like a mile.

This was the situation BYU offensive tackle Christensen found himself in last week when he posted elite numbers during his on-campus pro day in Provo. Of course, it was a Zach Wilson event, but Christensen was perhaps the story of the day.

To broad jump 10 feet, 4 inches as an offensive lineman is a remarkable feat. So unusual it’s hard to find another effort like it. You can’t.

Nobody’s ever measured a football player at his position doing that in any pro day or NFL combine. Those three extra inches by Christensen are, well, quite remarkable.

Christensen, a consensus All-American and labeled the best offensive tackle in the country by Pro Football Focus, blew away the NFL combine broad jump mark of 10-foot-1 set by Iowa’s Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the Year Tristan Wirfs in 2020.

Christensen’s broad jump was 10-foot-4, a mark he reached after posting a 10-foot-1. Broad jumps in this range are usually made by wide receivers, running backs and defensive backs.

On his first jump, Christensen had a 10-foot-4 but fell backward. On his second jump, he went 10-foot-1 but knew he had more in him. On his third try, “I stuck it and knew it was a good jump,” Christensen said.

Christensen’s numbers came in a laboratory-controlled environment, administered by professionals. It has no labels of “versus” Sun Belt or Pac-12 perimeters. It was the raw measurement of a refined and specific set of tasks.

At 6-foot-6, 302 pounds, Christensen clocked a sizzling 4.89 in the 40-yard dash, equaling that of Wirfs’ in 2020. He had a 34-inch vertical jump (Wirfs had 36.5), benched the 225 weight 30 times, ran the shuttle in 4.46 seconds and posted a time of 7.33 seconds in the three-cone drill.

How did Christensen’s numbers stack up with 53 in his position group in the 2020 NFL combine? His 40 time would be No. 2; his vertical No. 3; bench No. 5; broad jump No. 1; three-cone No. 2; and 20-yard shuttle No. 2.

In other words, his numbers were among the best.

The performance brought former BYU, New Orleans Saints and New England Patriot tackle Ryker Mathews to react on Twitter: “Yoooooo anyone else blown away by the numbers that @Brady_BYU put up or just me? I dunno if anyone understands how unbelievable that is for an O Lineman I don’t care that he only weighs 302.”

Just how Christensen got his body to fly further in the broad jump wasn’t smoke and mirrors. It was a ton of hard work all year long, through the COVID-19 pandemic, utilizing BYU’s conditioning program and working with specialized training with Dave Stroshine of Stroformance in Pleasant Grove.

Christensen began working with Stroshine when the pandemic shut down BYU’s campus and athletic training facilities in spring 2020. “Then he came throughout the summer and into the fall a little bit,” said Stroshine. “We worked together in November and December before he went out to Texas for two months for alignment training. It may have been five or six weeks.”

Christensen was able to build a good base through the pandemic year and then train continually with Stroshine for three weeks before his pro day.

“We tapped into his base foundation, his athleticism. We looked at it like job training, climbing the tree, working with his footwork, his speed and then his jumping — things that make you an explosive athlete.

“He loved it and really bought in. Whoever worked with him in Texas did a great job. So, it is definitely a team thing, but I’m just happy for Brady and his family because I know the work he put in behind the scenes and the extra stuff he did. It paid off, it was awesome to see.”

Christensen was an underrecruited athlete out of Bountiful High, a two-star recruit that BYU signed based on his potential.

In Dallas, Christensen worked out with a dozen other offensive linemen at Michael Thompson Performance. In Texas he had a 10-foot-1 broad jump. He then worked to get those extra inches in just under a month while in Utah.

Stroshine said it was a combination of many things, stretching, flexibility, going to yoga classes every Wednesday at his gym, and working very hard to “produce massive amounts of force for that size.”

“We got that extra 3 inches. He is a special man. There are a lot of things he worked on. He has great flexibility for a big man. His reactive ability is elite,” Stroshine said. “I say this time and time again when I hear critics say something about people that they can’t do this and they can’t do that, but if there is any questions at all about his explosive ability, they were answered on his pro day.”

One may remember another Stroshine trainee, BYU receiver Jonah Trinnaman, whose broad jump was 12 feet, just 4 inches off the world record in BYU’s 2018 pro day.

Apparently, Christensen also found a way to reach the outer limits.

PPP Draft records notes that in 2020 Christensen had the lowest QB pressure percent by an offensive tackle since 2014.

That 10-foot-4-inch broad jump aside, his 4.89 time in the 40-yard dash was equally impressive because it put him in the top three offensive linemen measured in the 2020 NFL combine. Only three offensive linemen ran the 40 in under 5 seconds last year and all were drafted, including Wirfs (4.85) in the first round, Ezra Cleveland (4.91) in the second round, and Danny Pinter (4.93) in the fifth round.

Put Christensen’s record broad jump with his 40 time and it tells the story of just how talented and athletic he is. Whether that translates into an NFL career against elite players is what they pay the scouts to project. Only games can reveal what those numbers really mean.

“I’ve known for a long time that I’m an athlete,” said Christensen when asked about some draft analysts who questioned his athleticism.

“I’m not just a big, fat guy.”