Top 10 Fastest Players in the NFL Today 2023
Based on In-Game Speed and Combine Metrics
These are the fastest players in the NFL today. While it’s easy to measure players’ speed based only on 40 yard dash times and the next gens fastest ball carrier speed metric, it doesn’t work.
When it comes to 40 yard dash times, there is a thing called “combine heroes”. There are players with some of the fastest 40 yard dash times, but when you put them in pads, they lack football speed. Track speed and football speed are two very different things.
For next gens fastest ball carrier speed, it’s way too biased towards running backs. The reality is that the fastest players in the NFL usually play at the wide receiver or cornerback position, but you’ll rarely see them leading that metric because they always reach top speed without the ball in their hands.
That’s why the main metric for determining this list is in-game speed, or what I like to call, the “eye test”. So, who is the fastest player in the NFL today? Read more and find out.
If you’re interested, I also have a list of the fastest NFL players ever!
#10 – Jonathan Taylor
Combine Stats/Next Gen Stats: 4.39 40-yard dash time, 22.13 (mph) top speed for ball carriers
It was a very slow start for Jonathan Taylor by his standards. The Colts offensive line was a shell of themselves compared to last season and the entire offense was in shambles because of it.
Last year, Jonathan Taylor was the unanimous best running back in the NFL. He also clocked in with the next gen fastest ball carrier speed with a top speed of 22.13 miles per hour. Not only that, he had the 4th fastest and 5th fastest times as well.
While he didn’t clock in with a top 20 speed this season, it had more to do with him not breaking as many big runs. The offensive line did him no favors which limited the explosive plays.
I believe he is still one of the fastest running backs in the NFL and one of the fastest nfl players today. A healthy Jonathan Taylor is a scary thing and expect big things in 2023.
#9 – Parris Campbell
Combine Stats/Next Gen Stats: 4.31 40-yard dash time, 22.11 (mph) top speed for ball carriers
I’m not going to lie, I was ready to label Parris Campbell as a bust going into this season. He was very raw when drafted in 2019, but his outstanding athletic measurables propelled his draft stock into the 2nd round.
Parris Campbell just had the best season of his career. His 4.31 40 yard dash speed finally showed up and he clocked in with the fastest ball carrier top speed this season with a time of 22.11 miles per hour. This is extra wild considering it wasn’t on a deep pass, but instead an end around in which he only gained 26 yards. This dude has wheels.
While he is still raw, you love to see the young man trending upwards in terms of production. Give him a better Quarterback that can catch him in stride, and you can expect an even more impressive production going forward.
#8 – Breece Hall
Combine Stats/Next Gen Stats: 4.39 40-yard dash time, 21.87 (mph) top speed for ball carriers
What could have been. If it weren’t for an ACL tear cutting the season short for Breece Hall, there is no doubt in my mind that he would have won the offensive rookie of the year award. Hell, the Jets might have even made the playoffs. He was looking that good.
With only 7 games played, Breece Hall still finished the season with the 3rd fastest ball carrier speed last season. Coming into the NFL draft he was viewed as an athletic freak, and it didn’t take long for us to see it on the field.
At only 21 years old, I’m expecting a full recovery for Breece Hall. He is a superstar in the making on a Jets team with a very young and talented roster including their offensive line.
#7 – Ja’Marr Chase
Combine Stats/Next Gen Stats: 4.39 40-yard dash time, 21.74 (mph) top speed for ball carriers
After winning offensive rookie of the year last season, Ja’Marr Chase followed up with another 1000+ yard receiving season. He also accomplished that feat in only 12 games.
There really isn’t a weakness in Ja’Marr Chase’s game. He is exceptional at pretty much every wide receiver trait, but it is his take the top off the defense ability that really puts him in the elite category. Time and time again we have seen him best elite level cornerbacks with his top level speed.
It’s clear that Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins are one of the best wide receiver duos in the NFL today. Higgins is the jump ball specialist and Chase is the do-it-all prototype.
#6 – Jaire Alexander
Combine Stats/Next Gen Stats: 4.38 40-yard dash time, N/A top speed for ball carriers
It’s about time we move on to a defensive player. This is the reason you can’t just look at the next gen stats for judging a players speed. The fastest ball carriers is not only completely bias and favorable for running backs, but for offensive players in general. The fastest defensive players need some love too, and Jaire Alexander is one of them.
Jaire Alexander ran a 4.38 40 yard dash in the NFL combine which ensured his rightful draft position in the first round. He quickly became one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL.
This year he proved that in his second matchup against Justin Jefferson limiting him to his lowest receiving numbers of the season. Jaire Alexander can cover anyone and this Packers defense was not the same when he was injured early last season.
#5 – Kenneth Walker
Combine Stats/Next Gen Stats: 4.36 40-yard dash time, 22.09 top speed for ball carriers
With all the hype around Breece Hall, Kenneth Walker flew under the radar, but he really shouldn’t have. I mean, if we’re talking speed, Kenneth Walker actually had the fastest 40 yard dash time out of the two.
Walker was said to be the backup to Rashaad Penny throughout the season, but we’ve all seen this story before. Since in the NFL, Rashaad Penny has been incapable of staying healthy. The moment he went down for the season, Kenneth Walker exploded onto the scene.
His 22.09 top speed this season was the fastest recorded time for any running back. His home run hitting ability on explosive runs has put him into the conversation as one of the best running backs in the NFL.
It’s a shame he didn’t win offensive rookie of the year. Not discrediting the impressive season of Garrett Wilson, but I do believe that Kenneth Walker was the rightful winner.
#4 – Christian Watson
Combine Stats/Next Gen Stats: 4.36 40-yard dash time, 21.72 top speed for ball carriers
With the departure of Davante Adams to the Raiders, there was a massive void to fill for this offense. Aaron Rodgers has been begging the Packers front office to go out and get a top wide receiver in the NFL draft. While they didn’t draft any of the 1st round wide receivers, they did hit the jackpot in the 2nd round by drafting Christian Watson.
This is another case of an extremely raw, but athletically gifted player being drafted based on potential. He is 6 foot 5 inches and runs a 4.36 40 yard dash.
It was looking grim early in the season. On the first play of his NFL career, Christian Watson absolutely torched the cornerback on a deep route, but then dropped the football. After that, it was injury after injury keeping him off the football field.
Then in week 10, we saw him flourish. After only recording 88 receiving yards and 0 touchdowns in the first 9 games, Christian Watson recorded 107 receiving yards and 3 touchdowns in only the week 10 game. He followed that up with a strong finish to the season.
While he still has work to do on those short to intermediate routes, it’s clear Watson has superstar potential.
#3 – Jaylen Waddle
Combine Stats/Next Gen Stats: 4.37 40-yard dash time, 21.68 top speed for ball carriers
Going into the season, I thought with the addition of Tyreek Hill that Jaylen Waddle would be an afterthought in this offense. I’m here to tell you that I was wrong.
Jaylen Waddle picked up right where he left off after his impressive rookie season. He just led the NFL in yards per reception this season with 18.1 and yards per target with 11.7. Those are both stats that prove how fast he is with and without the football in his hands.
He also had the 6th fastest ball carrier top speed at 21.68. It’s clear the 24 year old will be amongst the fastest players in the NFL for years to come.
#2 – Tariq Woolen
Combine Stats/Next Gen Stats: 4.26 40-yard dash time, 21.58 top speed for ball carriers
It still blows my mind that Tariq Woolen fell all the way until the 5th round of the NFL draft. Players like Christian Watson get drafted in the early rounds because of athletic measurables, so why wasn’t it the same case for Tariq Woolen.
This man is 6 foot 4 inches, 210 pounds, and runs a 4.26 40 yard dash. That is absolutely ridiculous.
It’s clear he came into the season with a chip on his shoulder. He not only locked up some of the best wide receivers, but he also recorded an impressive 6 interceptions which was tied for the most in the NFL.
Woolen was a diamond in the rough for the Seahawks. At only 23 years old, he has potential to develop into the best cornerback in the NFL.
#1 – Tyreek Hill
Combine Stats/Next Gen Stats: 4.29* 40-yard dash time, 21.95 top speed for ball carriers
I know I continue to make this point, but Tyreek Hill is living proof that you can’t just look at the fastest ball carrier speed when judging the fastest nfl players.
Rewind to 2016 when Tyreek Hill was a return specialist and he had both of the fastest recorded times. That’s especially impressive considering he had the tendency to slow down and throw up a peace sign on his way into the endzone.
In 2022, he didn’t even crack the top 20 for fastest recorded times. That’s not because he’s slower, it’s because of the situation. When he catches the football, he’s already reached his top speed because he already torched the defender. He also had the tendency to outrun Tua’s arm and receive an underthrown ball.
All you have to do is just watch him running routes. Not only is he the fastest player in the NFL today, but also one of the quickest. While he might be de-throned soon, I can’t imagine this list without him number one. The metrics may not back it up, but all you have to do is watch him play.
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