Fastest Players in NFL History Hierarchy
Visit the updated list of the fastest players in NFL history here!!
It would be too easy for me to make this list strictly based on the 40 yard dash or 100 meter. There have been many track stars who tried to join the NFL, but put pads on them and it doesn’t translate. That’s why this list is based mainly on in-game speed and not only measurables. These are the fastest NFL players ever.
From left to right: Deion Sanders & Darrell Green
This was very tough. I was very close to including Bob Hayes, but opted against it for this reason. When it came to in-game speed, these are the two players who take the crown.
Deion Sanders 40 time: 4.27 hand timed
Not only is Deion Sanders considered the best cornerback ever, but also one of the best returners ever. Hell, he even played some Wider Receiver. You can’t play at multiple positions without elite athleticism and Deion Sanders was that guy.
Darrell Green 40 time: 4.09 unofficial hand timed, 4.43 laser timed at 50 years old
The ageless wonder. Take a moment and appreciate the 4.43 laser timed 40 yard dash at 50 years old. Darrell Green lasted 20 seasons in the NFL because he could outrun anyone. He is also one of the best cornerbacks ever.
From left to right: Bob Hayes, Bo Jackson & Chris Johnson
Bob Hayes 100 meter time: 10.06 gold medal & world record
Again, I was very close to moving Bob Hayes into tier 1. He once held the world record and was considered the fastest man in the world. He played in a very different time when the NFL was dominated by the rushing attack and his receiving stats reflect that.
Bo Jackson 40 time: 4.13 hand timed
This is also a difficult person to rank considering the longevity. Arguably the greatest athlete ever, he was never able to shake off the injury bug leading to a short 4 year career. That being said, look at his highlights and they tell the story.
Chris Johnson 40 time: 4.24 laser timed
It was only recently that Chris Johnson was dethroned from the fastest 40 yard dash time record at the combine. He was as quick as he was fast and unlike John Ross found immediate success at the NFL level.
From left to right: Randy Moss, Tyreek Hill & DeSean Jackson
Randy Moss 40 time: 4.25 hand timed
Randy Moss was more of a long strider. He is the greatest deep threat of all-time and the only one who can be in the conversation with Jerry Rice for best Wide Receiver ever. His speed also allowed him to take catches at the line of scrimmage for 6. Very underrated as a yards after the catch wide receiver.
Tyreek Hill 40 time: 4.29 unofficial laser timed
By the time Tyreek Hill retires he will be one of the top 5 fastest NFL players ever. He wasn’t able to participate at the combine, but you don’t need those metrics to see what he does on the field. He is the fastest and most agile player in the NFL today.
DeSean Jackson 40 time: 4.35 laser timed
Consider this proof that combine metrics should not be the only thing considered when judging a players speed. DeSean Jackson’s 4.35 40 yard dash leaves something to be desired, but his in-game speed tells the story. Even in his thirties DeSean Jackson is one of the fastest players in the NFL.
From left to right: Michael Vick, Cliff Branch, Willie Gault, Trindon Holliday & Devin Hester
Michael Vick 40 time: 4.33 hand timed
Lamar Jackson has generated a lot of buzz, but Michael Vick is still the fastest Quarterback ever. Vick even raced and beat his teammate Deangelo Hall in the fastest man competition. NFL, please bring back this race!
Cliff Branch 100 meter time: 10.0
After winning the NCAA championship for the 100 meter race, Branch signed with the Raiders beginning his NFL career. He was nominated all-pro 3 times over his career with an impressive 17.3 yards per reception.
Willie Gault 100 meter time: 10.1
Another track star with pads on, Gault did not find as much success as Cliff Branch as a complete wide receiver. That being said his 19.9 yards per reception ranks 7th all-time.
Trindon Holliday 40 time: 4.27 laser timed
Continuing the theme of track star with pads on, Trindon Holliday was one of the best returners of his time. His problem came with ball security which led to a shorter career for the speedster.
Devin Hester 40 time: 4.41 laser timed
The opposite of a track star with pads on. Devin Hester underperformed at the combine, but you can’t argue he is one of the fastest ever. His in-game speed tells the story as Hester is the undisputed best returner in NFL history.
From left to right: Jacoby Ford, Joey Galloway, Champ Bailey, John Ross, Dante Hall, Ike Taylor
Jacoby Ford 40 time: 4.28 laser timed
He had some electric highlight plays over his short career, but ball security led to a short career.
Joey Galloway 40 time: 4.18 hand timed
Here is a fun fact. Joey Galloway is the all-time leader for receiving yards and touchdowns for players not to be nominated to a pro bowl.
Champ Bailey 40 time: 4.28 laser timed
To be one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL, you have to be fast. Champ Bailey played all 15 seasons with the Denver Broncos only missing the pro bowl 3 times.
John Ross 40 time: 4.22 laser timed
I’m sure a lot of you will argue he should be higher, but he still has much more to prove. He broke the 40 yard dash record at the combine, but has been injured every season. Ross needs to produce more and have his speed translate better to be moved up.
Dante Hall 40 time: 4.29 laser timed
If this were a list of quickest player ever, he would rise up. He was the human joystick over his time in the NFL making his impact as an elite returner.
Ike Taylor 40 time: 4.18 hand timed
This man is way too forgotten when thinking about the fastest ever. Ike Taylor is severely underrated as a player not once being nominated to the pro-bowl.
All-Time Hierarchy Lists:
Hitting – Hardest Hitters Ever
Safeties – Best Safeties Ever
RBs – Best Running Backs
QBs – Best Quarterbacks Ever
WRs – Best Wide Receivers Ever
2020 Hierarchy Lists:
WRs – Best Wide Receivers 2020
Champ Bailey got drafted by The Washington Football Team, he went to Denver in a trade with Clinton Portis