Top 5 fastest football players in NFL history
Few qualities allure NFL scouts more than raw speed. Just watch some tape of Deion Sanders ridiculing defenders on a punt return or hawking receivers as a cornerback and you’ll quickly understand velocity’s charm.
In fact, it’s our fascination with speed and its intimate relationship with success at the highest levels of football that leads NFL scouts to measure it in countless ways and fans to marvel at it like they’ve glimpsed at something holy.
Finding fast players to put on the field is, in some ways, as important as selecting players of size and strength.
This is true particularly at the skill positions. If you don’t have guys who have the ability to pull away from defenders, you may have trouble putting points on the board.
The following is a list of the 5 fastest NFL players of all time.
1. Bob Hayes
Bob Hayes is the fastest player in NFL history.
At the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Hayes won the 100 meter and broke the existing World Record with a time of 10.06 seconds.
He also won a second gold medal in the 4 x 100 meter relay, which also produced a new World Record (39.06 seconds).
Hayes was a three-time Pro Bowler and was inducted in 2009 in the Football Hall of Fame.
2. Bo Jackson
Bo Jackson was one of the most amazing athletes of our time.
He not only played in the NFL, but he also played major league baseball too.
At 6’1″ 227 lbs, Jackson was an unreal physical specimen.
He ran a blistering 4.12 seconds (hand-timed) 40 yard dash at the NFL Combine, which is still the fastest verifiable 40-yard dash time ever recorded at any NFL Combine.
In his four seasons in the NFL, Jackson rushed for 2,782 yards (2,544 m) and 16 touchdowns with an average yards per carry of 5.4
3. Chris Johnson
Chris Johnson is not just blisteringly fast, he’s football fast. His 4.24-second 40 is the fastest official time in NFL history. And, just so you get an idea of how exactly how fast that is, Johnson would’ve been ahead of Usain Bolt at the 40-yard mark when Bolt set the World Record in the 100-meter race at the 2008 Olympics.
But what makes Johnson truly special, particularly as a running back is his 10-yard dash record.
4. Jacoby Ford
Jacoby Ford is a human lightning bolt. In 2007, Ford ran the 100-meter dash in a mind-boggling 10.23 seconds at the ACC outdoor track championships. To put that speed into perspective, if he had produced the same time as recently as the 1980 Summer Olympics, he would’ve taken the gold medal.
Internet legend has Ford running a 4.126 40-yard dash at the 2005 Fork Union Military Academy combine, which would be the fastest in the NFL and only a shade slower than Bo Jackson’s unofficial all-time NFL record time of 4.12.
The question for Jacoby is whether his cheetah-like sprinting ability will translate into NFL success. The 24-year-old Ford is currently a wide receiver and return specialist for the Oakland Raiders.
5. Darrell Green
Darrell Green was one of the most incredible athletes to play in the NFL.
Not only was he good for the first several years of his career, he continued to play at the highest level into his forties at a position that few make it into their mid-thirties. Green reportedly recorded a time of 4.09 at the Washington Redskins’ training camp in 1986.
Green ran down from significant distances many of the fastest running backs and receivers to play in the NFL. Green has said in interviews that the fastest time he has ever been aware of running is 4.15.
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