11 Fastest NFL Players In History

Published on September 20, 2022, 11:33 am
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Who Aae the fastest players in NFL history?

It is said that speed kills in the NFL. There is, however, a difference between being fast and being quick. Speed in the NFL can be instrumental both in making plays and giving the opposing player a nightmare, as well as electrifying the crowds. The following 11 players have been regarded as the fastest NFL players in the history of the league.

11. Deion Sanders

Years active – 1989-2005

Teams – San Francisco, Atlanta Falcons, Dallas Cowboys, 49ers, Baltimore Ravens, Washington Football Team

Position – Cornerback, wide receiver

Sanders was an incredible athlete who played both football and basketball, and it was his speed that made him one of the most memorable men in the history of the league. At the 1989 NFL Combine, Sanders ran the 40-yard dash in just 4.27 seconds. Unofficially he ran at 4.21, but it was said to be wind-aided. He ran about a 10.21 time at Florida State in the 100 meters.

10. Darrell Green

Years active – 1983-2002

Teams – Washington Football Team

Position – Cornerback

Running a 40-yard dash in just 4.43 seconds is not a joke, and at the age of 50 too! Green did so, and many have reported that he ran a 40-yard dash during training camp in 1986 in just 4.09 seconds. Looking at that record, it wouldn’t be surprising if he chased down some current NFL players.

9. Fabian Washington

Years active – 2005-2010

Teams – Baltimore Ravens, Oakland Raiders

Position – Cornerback

Washington was always his high-school track star, and he ran a 40-yard dash in 4.29 seconds in his senior year of school; in the 2005 NFL Combine, he ran a 4.25. His 10-yard split of 1.50 and 20-yard split of 2.43 are among the fastest in combined history. It was this explosive speed of his that backed him as a cornerback.

8. Renaldo Nehemiah

Years active – 1982-1984

Teams – San Francisco 49ers

Position – Wide receiver

Even though his name is known only to a few, Nehemiah was a world-record-holding high hurdles runner before entering the NFL. He created history by running 110-meter-high hurdles in just 12.93 seconds in 1981.

7. John Ross

Years active – 2017-present

Teams – Cincinnati Bengals

Position – Wide receiver

By running the 40-yard dash in 4.22 seconds, Ross created a new NFL record in 2017. His blazing pace has earned him a good reputation in the games he has been a part of.

6. Tyreek Hill

Years active – 2016-present

Teams – Kansas City Chiefs

Position – Wide receiver

Hill is one of those few players that get the audience excited enough to stand up and take notice when they get their hands on the ball. He has two of the 50 longest punt return touchdowns in the history of the NFL.

5. Dri Archer 

Years active – 2014-2015

Teams – Pittsburgh Steelers

Position – Wide receiver

Though Archer has had a short NFL career, he holds one of the fastest running record times of 4.26 seconds combined time in the 40-yard dash. He has proved through his career that superhuman speed is not the only criterion for making it to the NFL level.

4. Chris Johnson  

Years active – 2008-2017

Teams – New York Jets, Tennessee Titans, Arizona Cardinals

Position – Running back

Johnson announced himself at the 2008 NFL combine when he clocked a 4.24 time in his 40-yard dash, which was a record at that time. Though injuries derailed his career, in his hay days when he got into the open field, only a few could touch him.

3. Bo Jackson

Years active – 1987-1990

Teams – Los Angeles Raiders

Position – Running back

Though a hand-timed 40-yard dash, Jackson’s 4.13 time is the fastest verified NFL workout run ever. He could only play for four years in the NFL before an injury ended his career.

2. Alexander Wright

Years active – 1990-1996

Teams – Dallas Cowboys, Los Angeles Raiders, St. Louis Rams

Position – Wide receiver, Kick returner

In both 1990 and 1991, Wright won the NFL’s Fastest Man competition. He holds a record for running the 40-yard dash in 4.09 and 4.14 seconds.

1. Bob Hayes

Years active – 1965-1975

Teams – San Francisco 49ers, Dallas Cowboys

Position – Wide receiver, split end

Better known as ‘Bullet Bob,’ he set sprinting records that took several years to break. It took eleven years to break his 9.1 second time in the 100-yard dash.


In a league where speed matters the most, these NFL players have been the worst nightmares of their opposing teams and have been known for wreaking havoc on opposing defenses. Their super speed has not only added golden feathers to their careers but has also added to the prestige and popularity of the league.

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