Once upon a time, Chad Johnson (or was it Ochocinco) challenged a racehorse. While giving himself an advantage, the Bengals’ star wide receiver won the race, proving that man can be faster than beast with a predetermined advantage.
Yet Johnson would not have held out in a fair race against many of the modern NFL players. Guys like Tyreek Hill, Raheem Mostert, and even Lamar Jackson and Kyler Murray show more obvious field speed than anyone in NFL history. If it weren’t for high definition, they would appear blurry on our television screens. But who really is the fastest player in the NFL?
It’s too bad the Pro Bowl doesn’t have its fastest man competition never more. The fastest players in the NFL literally lined up and ran past each other like they were track athletes. That would be an easier way to solve this problem than anything else.
Who is the fastest player in the NFL?
There is no perfect way to answer this question. The easiest thing to do is quote 40-yard rush times, but that also doesn’t simulate a football game played on pads with defenders trying to tackle the ball carrier.
Fortunately, the NFL’s next-gen stats have started to help with this dilemma, providing sprint speeds for players on individual plays. That’s useful – it can show us who has the highest top speed in the league. In 2020, it appears that Raheem Mostert is the early favorite for the fastest player in the NFL when you look at the Next Gen Stats data table below.
The answer is probably somewhere in the middle of these two data possibilities. The straight line speed of a player in sportswear will generally translate to how fast they can be on the soccer field. The biggest problem for some of the faster driving players (think Darius Heyward-Bey of the Raiders) is that they don’t release often enough with the ball into space to show that incredible speed. It’s a bit irrelevant who the fastest NFL player is in a vacuum – teams ideally look for the players who have the most effective speed, mixing pure running speed with the talent to let that speed play.
Top 10 Fastest NFL Players of 2020 (mph)
Here are the 10 fastest ball carrier runs of the 2020 NFL season (through the NFL’s next-gen stats):
|Player||Team||Top speed (mph)||Play event|
|Raheem mostert||49ers||23.09||80-yard ground TD|
|Raheem mostert||49ers||22.73||76-yard receiving TD|
|Kenyan Drake||Cardinals||22.11||69-yard rushing TD|
|Jonathan Taylor||Colts||22.05||29 yard rush|
|Tyreek hill||Bosses||21.91||44-yard receiving TD|
|Nyheim hines||Colts||21.85||19-yard kickoff return|
|Trevon diggs||Cowboys||21.72||0-yard interception (touchback)|
|Nelson Agholor||Assailants||21.72||57-yard reception|
|Michael davis||Chargers||21.68||78-yard INT TD|
|DK Metcalf||Seahawks||21.66||6-yard catch|
In particular, Mostert continues to look like the fastest player in the NFL for more than half the season (despite losing time through injury). Metcalf makes the list for a catch, as these are just plays where one player is holding the ball. But Metcalf’s fastest run this season came chasing Budda Baker after an interception, when he hit 22.64 miles per hour.
Top 10 Fastest 40 Times (Active NFL Players)
And here are the 10 40 fastest times of active NFL players, recorded during the NFL Combine or on a Pro Day:
|Player||Team||40-yard race time||Year||Position|
|Henry Ruggs III||Assailants||4.27||2020||WR|
|Will Fuller V||Jeans||4.32||2018||WR|
When Ross ran his 4.22-second, 40-yard run in 2017, he surpassed Chris Johnson’s recent high water mark of 4.24 seconds of 40. That hasn’t been touched in the three years since then, with rookie Henry Rugs III coming closest in 2020 at 4.27 seconds.
It makes sense for Goodwin to be quick – he’s one of the best athletes in the NFL and he competed in the 2012 Olympics for the United States as a long jumper.
It’s also worth noting in regards to this list that Marquise “Hollywood” Brown of the Ravens has never run a 40-yard dash. He is considered one of the fastest players in the NFL.
What is Tyreek Hill time 40?
Tyreek Hill did not participate in the 2016 NFL combine due to an arrest for domestic abuse. At West Alabama Pro Day, Hill clocked 4.29 seconds on the 40-yard dash.
What is Mecole Hardman’s 40 time?
Hill’s teammate and seeming potential heir in Kansas City is almost as fast as “the Cheetah.” In the 2019 NFL combine, Hardman ran a 4.33-second, 40-yard rush, 0.04 seconds behind Hill’s professional time.
What is the 40 time of Raheem Mostert?
Despite being the speed class in the 2020 NFL, Mostert did not finish with the fastest time of 40 yards. He ran a 4.32-second, 40-yard dash on Purdue’s Pro Day in 2015.
What’s 40 Nick Chubb’s time?
Chubb has yet to break into the charts above, but he had some of the fastest runs of the 2019 season. In the 2018 NFL Combine, however, Chubb ran only a 4.52-second, 40-yard dash.
What is the 40 time of Leonard Fournette?
Fournette’s presence on this list raises the question of how fast his 40-yard dash was. Like Chubb, he has managed long, fast runs despite a relatively pedestrian time of 4.51 seconds in the NFL Combine in 2017.
What is the 40 time of Odell Beckham Jr.?
Beckham continues to be one of the best wide receivers thanks in part to the 4.43 40-yard rushing speed he displayed in the 2014 NFL Combine.
What is Saquon Barkley’s 40 time?
Barkley made the top 10 running speeds list multiple times in 2019, but will be unable to claim his spot on the 2020 list due to a season-ending knee injury. At the 2018 NFL combine, Barkley ran a 40-yard dash in 4.41 seconds.
What is the 40 Christian McCaffrey time?
McCaffrey, one of the best running backs in the NFL, ran a 4.49-second, 40-yard rush in the 2017 NFL Combine.
What is DK Metcalf’s 40 time?
Metcalf ran a 4.33-second, 40-yard run in the NFL Combine in 2019. He exploited social media in Week 7 of the 2020 NFL season when he ran over Budda Baker to tackle the defender at a nearby pick-six.
What is Marquise Brown’s 40 time?
Brown didn’t race in the NFL Combine, but he has run a run of 4.32 seconds and 40 yards earlier. That probably means he would have a pretty good race with his teammate, Lamar Jackson, who has run a 4.34.
What is Lamar Jackson’s 40 time?
Jackson didn’t run the 40-yard dash in the NFL Combine, but in a “speed day“Introduced by Louisville in 2017, he reportedly ran a 4.34-second, 40-yard dash. The fastest running speed of Jackson’s NFL career so far came in Week 6 of the 2020 season, when he reached 21.01 miles per hour on a 37-yard touchdown run.
What is the 40 time of Patrick Mahomes?
Mahomes has incorporated the run as part of his game, but generally as a passer who struggles while looking to pitch. His 40-yard rushing time in the NFL Combine was 4.80 seconds.
What is Kyler Murray’s 40 time?
Murray also didn’t run the 40-yard dash in the NFL Combine. When asked about it in 2019, he said that a few years before he had run a 4.30 and now he was faster. There’s a reason Murray was a first-round baseball pick as a potential major league center fielder.
What is Josh Allen’s 40 time?
Allen has emerged as one of the best running quarterbacks in the NFL, but he wasn’t superbly fast in the 2018 NFL Combine, running a 4.76-second, 40-yard dash.
What is the 40 time of Russell Wilson?
In the 2012 NFL combine, Wilson ran a 40-yard dash in 4.55 seconds. That was second only to Robert Griffin III in that year’s class, and he was faster than the previous year’s top pick, Cam Newton.
Who is the fastest player in the NFL?
Without a time machine, there will never be a solid answer to this. That’s because prior to 1999, the NFL used manual timing in the NFL Combine, leaving room for human error. The fastest player with electronic timing is John Ross of the Bengals, who ran all 40 in 4.22 seconds in 2017.
Besides Ross, we have to start with Bo Jackson. Jackson said in the famous 30 of 30 about him never lifting weights a day in his life, even though he has a chiseled physique. All that muscle didn’t stop Jackson from running a 4.13-second 40-yard dash in the 1986 Combine, which would almost break the internet if it happened with electronic timing today.
Bob Hayes played for the Dallas Cowboys in the 1960s and 1970s after tying the world record in the 100-meter dash (10.06 seconds) at the 1964 Olympics. His nickname was Bullet for a reason. According to MileSplit Converter, that translates to a 4.19-second 40-yard dash, although we can’t say if Hayes would have accelerated and maintained speed at the same rate as in the 100-meter run if he’d run a 40-yard dash. script.
For what it’s worth, if Usain Bolt had ever run the 40-yard dash, he could have broken what appears to be the impossible 4.0-second barrier. Bolt’s 9.58-second 100-meter dash time turns into a 3.99-second 40-yard dash. Bolt’s only problem would have been his long strides: He doesn’t accelerate to full throttle until the second half of his 100-meter runs, by which time his 40-yard dash would have already ended.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.