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Who is the fastest player to ever play in the NFL? (1 Viewer)

The Claymaker

Footballguy
Bo Jackson

I think Bo had a 4.15 forty or something in that range. In his limited touches Bo has more runs over 90 yards than any other player in the NFL.

*I remember reading that fact about long runs some time ago and am not 100% sure it is still accurate.

 
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ImTheScientist

Footballguy
The Official Unofficial Sub 4.3 Forty Yard Dash List at Gridironstuds.com

1 Bo Jackson Auburn Tigers 4.12

2 Michael Bennett Minnesota Vikings 4.13

3 Alexander Wright Dallas Cowboys 4.14

4 Darrell Green Washington Redskins 4.15

5 Ahman Green Nebraska Cornhuskers 4.17

6 Joey Galloway Ohio St. Buckeyes 4.18

7 Terrell Sinkfield Northern Iowa 4.19 added 3/05/13

8 Henry Neal Blinn JC 4.20

9 Onterio McCalebb Auburn Tigers 4.21 added 2/25/13

10 Deion Sanders Florida St. Seminoles 4.21

11 Kevin Curtis Utah St. Aggies 4.21

12 Don Beebe Buffalo Bills 4.21

13 Donte Stallworth Tennessee Volunteers 4.22

14 Willie Parker North Carolina Tar Heels 4.23

15 Clayton Holmes Dallas Cowboys 4.23

16 Rondel Melendez Eastern Kentucky (1999) 4.24

17 Chris Johnson East Carolina Pirates 4.24

18 Taylor Mays USC 4.24

19 Marquis Goodwin Texas Longhorns 4.25 added 2/25/13

20 Tavon Austin West Virginia 4.25 added 2/15/13

21 Steve Williams California 4.25 added 3/05/13

22 Ike Taylor Pittsburgh Steelers 4.25

23 Randy Moss Marshall University 4.25

24 Michael Vick Virginia Tech Hokies 4.25

25 Jerome Mathis Hampton 4.25

26 Sam Shields University of Miami (Packers) 4.25

27 Devin Hester University of Miami 4.27

28 Darren McFadden Arkansas Razorbacks 4.27

29 James Jett West Virginia 4.27

30 Jacoby Ford Clemson Tigers 4.27

31 Trindon Holliday LSU 4.27

32 DeMarcus Van Dyke University of Miami 4.28

33 Kevin Williams University of Miami 4.28

34 Champ Bailey Georgia Bulldogs 4.28

35 CJ Spiller Clemson Tigers 4.28

36 Raghib Ismail Notre Dame Fighting Irish 4.28

37 Walter Sutton SW Minnesota St. 4.28

38 Rod Woodson Purdue Boilermakers 4.28

39 Standord Routt University of Houston (2005) 4.29

40 Fabian Washington Nebraska Cornhuskers 4.29

41 Laveranues Coles Florida St. Seminoles 4.29

42 James Williams Fresno St. 4.29

43 Gaston Green UCLA 4.29

44 Johnny Knox Abiliene Christian (Chi. Bears) 4.29

 

Chreesto

Footballguy
I don't trust any 40 time that isn't electronically timed. Based on my own observations in the last 30+ years of watching football it's Darrell Green and Chris Johnson at the top of the list. Bo and Deion right behind them. I loved Bo Jackson but there is no way he would have run an electronically timed 4.12

 
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massraider

Footballguy
In or out of pads is probably two different answers.

Bo was fast, and he looked fast.

Moss and Deion were interesting to me, the both had such long legs, they didn't look like they were flying, but they completely chewed up yardage. In a pure sprint, give me one of the track guys, like Gault.

But on the field, ball in his hand, people trying to catch him? Deion. I remember seeing Deion accelerate away from people, while high-stepping along the sideline.

 

EBF

Footballguy
What distance are you talking about? Top speed? 40 time? 100 meters?

I would say Chris Johnson probably looks the fastest of anyone I've seen recently.

Jeff Demps basically has Olympic level speed though. His PR in the 100m is 9.96s. I don't know of another NFL player who has run sub 10 flat.

There are probably some guys who could've hit that mark if they dedicated themselves solely to sprinting, but alas...

 

ZWK

Footballguy
There is too much noise in 40 times to use them for this. If we go by official times from track meets, according to this site Jacoby Ford has the fastest 100m time with a 10.01 (among players with at least 16 NFL games).

 

Phenix

Footballguy
The Official Unofficial Sub 4.3 Forty Yard Dash List at Gridironstuds.com 1 Bo Jackson Auburn Tigers 4.12 2 Michael Bennett Minnesota Vikings 4.13 3 Alexander Wright Dallas Cowboys 4.14 4 Darrell Green Washington Redskins 4.15 5 Ahman Green Nebraska Cornhuskers 4.17 6 Joey Galloway Ohio St. Buckeyes 4.18 7 Terrell Sinkfield Northern Iowa 4.19 added 3/05/138 Henry Neal Blinn JC 4.20 9 Onterio McCalebb Auburn Tigers 4.21 added 2/25/1310 Deion Sanders Florida St. Seminoles 4.21 11 Kevin Curtis Utah St. Aggies 4.21 12 Don Beebe Buffalo Bills 4.21 13 Donte Stallworth Tennessee Volunteers 4.22 14 Willie Parker North Carolina Tar Heels 4.23 15 Clayton Holmes Dallas Cowboys 4.23 16 Rondel Melendez Eastern Kentucky (1999) 4.24 17 Chris Johnson East Carolina Pirates 4.24 18 Taylor Mays USC 4.24 19 Marquis Goodwin Texas Longhorns 4.25 added 2/25/1320 Tavon Austin West Virginia 4.25 added 2/15/1321 Steve Williams California 4.25 added 3/05/1322 Ike Taylor Pittsburgh Steelers 4.25 23 Randy Moss Marshall University 4.25 24 Michael Vick Virginia Tech Hokies 4.25 25 Jerome Mathis Hampton 4.25 26 Sam Shields University of Miami (Packers) 4.25 27 Devin Hester University of Miami 4.27 28 Darren McFadden Arkansas Razorbacks 4.27 29 James Jett West Virginia 4.27 30 Jacoby Ford Clemson Tigers 4.27 31 Trindon Holliday LSU 4.27 32 DeMarcus Van Dyke University of Miami 4.28 33 Kevin Williams University of Miami 4.28 34 Champ Bailey Georgia Bulldogs 4.28 35 CJ Spiller Clemson Tigers 4.28 36 Raghib Ismail Notre Dame Fighting Irish 4.28 37 Walter Sutton SW Minnesota St. 4.28 38 Rod Woodson Purdue Boilermakers 4.28 39 Standord Routt University of Houston (2005) 4.29 40 Fabian Washington Nebraska Cornhuskers 4.29 41 Laveranues Coles Florida St. Seminoles 4.29 42 James Williams Fresno St. 4.29 43 Gaston Green UCLA 4.29 44 Johnny Knox Abiliene Christian (Chi. Bears) 4.29
BEAUTIFUL TIME TO SHOW DON BEEBE SOME LOVE!

YES I HAVE TO SHOUT THIS!

 
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GregR

Footballguy
Cowboys receiver Bob Hayes set a world record of 10.06 in the 100m at the 1964 Olympics. He also recorded a wind assisted 9.91 that was electronically timed, the first person to break the 10 second barrier.

I think if we want to take era into account, Hayes is probably top of the list as he was fastest man in the world at the time. People continue to get bigger/stronger/faster over time. A half second has been carved off his world record time in the intervening 50 years.

 

Donnybrook

Footballguy
In or out of pads is probably two different answers.

Bo was fast, and he looked fast.

Moss and Deion were interesting to me, the both had such long legs, they didn't look like they were flying, but they completely chewed up yardage. In a pure sprint, give me one of the track guys, like Gault.

But on the field, ball in his hand, people trying to catch him? Deion. I remember seeing Deion accelerate away from people, while high-stepping along the sideline.
I was going to say Gault as well before I found this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ziMOg-Nfb1I

 

squistion

Footballguy
Bo Jackson

I think Bo had a 4.15 forty or something in that range. In his limited touches Bo has more runs over 90 yards than any other player in the NFL.

*I remember reading that fact about long runs some time ago and am not 100% sure it is still accurate.
No one I have ever seen play in the NFL looked faster in games than Bo Jackson and game speed is what really counts, not what you can do running in a straight line on a track.

 

Phantom Knight

Footballguy
After hearing "forever" that Deion was the (seemingly) uncontestable fastest man in the NFL, happy to see the quiet, humble Darrell Green get some love and "official unofficial" confirmation. But....

One might be fastest in a foot race 10 yards. Another at 40 or 100. From stopped to full speed. During/after change of direction. In shorts. In pads. With/without the ball. Trying to run away from. Trying to catch from behind.

...when you're talking about the kind of speed, it's really not worth quibbling about! I just sit there with my jaw hanging with a simple, "Wow."

 

Phantom Knight

Footballguy
The Official Unofficial Sub 4.3 Forty Yard Dash List at Gridironstuds.com 1 Bo Jackson Auburn Tigers 4.12 2 Michael Bennett Minnesota Vikings 4.13 3 Alexander Wright Dallas Cowboys 4.14 4 Darrell Green Washington Redskins 4.15 5 Ahman Green Nebraska Cornhuskers 4.17
Thanks posting this great list! I get goose bumps recalling some of the exploits of some of these incredible athletes. I am very surprised at three of the top times. I knew Bennett was fast, not that it is more than an opinion, but I'd be shocked if he could have kept up with Green (Darrell) or Deion or Bo in a footrace. Ditto Ahman Green. Don't know so much about Wright.

To me it's got to be Darrell and Deion at the top of the list. Just after them, a few of the young current jetsters. Then Bo (one of my all-time favs for his blend of power and speed) but I don't think Bo quite had the wheels of D or D or a few of the NFL's current young guns. That is confirmed, to me at least, after watching the video of Bo posted earlier in this thread.

 
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meyerj31

Footballguy
Jim Thorpe

/thread

How has nobody mentioned Thorpe? The guy ran a 10.0 second 100-meter multiple times, which was unheard of back then for anyone, not just a sport athlete. In pads he was nearly as fast.

I don't understand how people discount historic players so much. Bo Jackson was definitely faster than Chris Johnson. He was one of the best athletes in modern history (Thorpe being #1). I find it incredibly annoying that NFL fans don't give historic players the credit they deserve. Baseball players like Ted Williams and Babe Ruth are legends but nobody thinks Don Hutson would do anything noteworthy in today's game. I don't get it at all.

edit: I suppose technically this thread said fastest in NFL history and Thorpe was before the NFL, but still. He's the fastest football player ever and I think that's a better question. Another thing I hate is people think football began with the NFL. I'm pretty sure football existed longer before the NFL than the NFL has been in existence.

 
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tdmills

Footballguy
In or out of pads is probably two different answers.

Bo was fast, and he looked fast.

Moss and Deion were interesting to me, the both had such long legs, they didn't look like they were flying, but they completely chewed up yardage. In a pure sprint, give me one of the track guys, like Gault.

But on the field, ball in his hand, people trying to catch him? Deion. I remember seeing Deion accelerate away from people, while high-stepping along the sideline.
I was going to say Gault as well before I found this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ziMOg-Nfb1I
Looked like Gault got a bad start out of the blocks, he's also much taller than Green(I think 6 inches).

 

ghostguy123

Footballguy
Jim Thorpe

/thread

The guy ran a sub 10 second 100-meter multiple times, which would have beaten Usain Bolt at the world championships this year. In pads he was just as fast.

I don't understand how people discount historic players so much. Bo Jackson was definitely faster than Chris Johnson. He was one of the best athletes ever. I find it incredibly annoying that NFL fans don't give historic players the credit they deserve. Baseball players like Ted Williams and Babe Ruth are legends but nobody thinks Don Hutson would do anything noteworthy in today's game. I don't get it at all.
Amazingly, I doubt Thorpe ran a sub 10 second 100 meters.

In fact, I am willing to bet it was 100 YARDS, not meters, which is shorter than 100 meters by about 20+ feet(forget exact conversion).

 

GregR

Footballguy
Jim Thorpe

/thread

The guy ran a sub 10 second 100-meter multiple times, which would have beaten Usain Bolt at the world championships this year. In pads he was just as fast.

I don't understand how people discount historic players so much. Bo Jackson was definitely faster than Chris Johnson. He was one of the best athletes ever. I find it incredibly annoying that NFL fans don't give historic players the credit they deserve. Baseball players like Ted Williams and Babe Ruth are legends but nobody thinks Don Hutson would do anything noteworthy in today's game. I don't get it at all.
Amazingly, I doubt Thorpe ran a sub 10 second 100 meters.

In fact, I am willing to bet it was 100 YARDS, not meters, which is shorter than 100 meters by about 20+ feet(forget exact conversion).
Yes, Thorpe was 80, and dead 15 years, when the 10s barrier was broken.

 

Carter_Can_Fly

Footballguy
Fun thread. Just to add a guy who last year impressed me with his speed was David Wilson. His 40 time was just ok at the combine at 4.49, but it was said that he had been hand timed many times at sub 4.30 and many thought he was going to be timed in the 4.2 to 4.3 range. I am assuming it was more of a technical thing with his start than anything. He also jumped an absurd 41 inch vertical and 11 foot broad jump. The record broad jump is Julio Jones at 11 foot 3 inches, Julio Jones vertical was 38 inches.

David Wilson in pads looks faster than everyone on the field. He has another gear and he does not slow down on cuts. He is electric.

 

ghostguy123

Footballguy
Has anyone mentioned yet that the 40 is the dumbest thing ever?? I mean, it's fun to talk about sometimes, but there is no tangible use for a 40 time at all.

You want the 40 to be a little more accurate?? Make the RBs wear pads and carry a football while running in zigzags. WHile people are swinging their hands at them trying to strip the ball.

Not running it in sprinters shoes with little biker shorts, no shirt, and not even really looking where they are going.

 

jurb26

Footballguy
I see many are using times to justify players here and that's not a bad way to start. For me however, I'm just going to list the guys who IMO were the fasted using applied on field speed. No real order here.

Randy Moss

Deion Sanders

Darrel Green

Joey Galloway

Chris Johnson

Bo Jackson

Mike Vick, can't believe he's got no mention.

Javon Kearse, yeah I'm putting a dlineman on here based on speed differential at his position.

 

jurb26

Footballguy
ghostguy123 said:
Has anyone mentioned yet that the 40 is the dumbest thing ever?? I mean, it's fun to talk about sometimes, but there is no tangible use for a 40 time at all.
Yes there is. It's just been over romanticized by fans, the media and is largely misunderstood is all. There is absolutely a purpose for it though.

 

ghostguy123

Footballguy
ghostguy123 said:
Has anyone mentioned yet that the 40 is the dumbest thing ever?? I mean, it's fun to talk about sometimes, but there is no tangible use for a 40 time at all.
Yes there is. It's just been over romanticized by fans, the media and is largely misunderstood is all. There is absolutely a purpose for it though.
Yeah, maybe to make sure guys arent injured. I see no other purpose to running sprints on a track, no pads, no defense, no ball in hand for RBs..........................

There is SOME use for it, yes. About 1/100th what people make it out to be though.

 

Hairy Snowman

Footballguy
For my money, on the football field, Deion was the fastest I ever saw. Bo, Galloway, Green are near the top in my mind. But Deion was just different. He always seemed to have another gear.

 

Cookiemonster

Footballguy
ghostguy123 said:
Has anyone mentioned yet that the 40 is the dumbest thing ever?? I mean, it's fun to talk about sometimes, but there is no tangible use for a 40 time at all.
Yes there is. It's just been over romanticized by fans, the media and is largely misunderstood is all. There is absolutely a purpose for it though.
Agree. It shows the best blend of quick start and long speed, and 10 & 20 yard splits can help show which (short or long) speed you're seeing. I love watching the superimposed 40s during the combine. Seeing two guys with the same time but one is much quicker and one is much faster is very interesting, and while the quickness is the most useful in football, faster is the more threatening.

The problem is, it looks different in pads. Some guys carry the pads better than others. Some guys have much better form / track /start training. I remember watching Mario Manningham's combine 40 and thinking, "His track form is about the worst I've seen from a skill position player," and he ran a very pedestrian 40. He was known as a deep threat in college, but had a barely draftable 40 time. He played about .2 faster than his combine time.

On topic, my answer is Deion. I never respected him much because he was such a pansy as a tackler, but since I've been watching (about '89) he was the most football fast. Bo may have had the most impressive package. Darrel Green was easily the fastest 30+ year old I've ever seen play. Randy may have been right there with Deion for long speed, but Deion was quicker, and could change direction as well as anybody not named Barry Sanders.

 
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Bri

Footballguy
I don't recall anyone ever being "gone" so "automatic" as CJ when he's in the open field. When he wants to turn on the jets, I'd vote for him being the fastest.

The Lions and Panthers used to have KRs that were famously fast.

Looking fast...

Michael Vick as a rookie dropped back against the Gmen( in preseason IIRC) and just ran straight ahead for a score. Every Giant seemed to be too slow to get to him it was shocking. When he wanted to, I felt like young Vick could go from 1st to 5th gear faster than anyone.

The most dominating game I've ever seen by a WR was either Isaac Bruce or Joey Galloway. Bruce (I believe) had the most 200 yard games of any WR, pick one to see speed. It seemed like when Holt and Hakim joined the Rams and we collectively called them the fastest team on turf, we forgot how the individuals were so fast. Holt and Hakim were too.

Galloway played against the Jets when Parcells was there. It's become a thing of legend(a fable? idk exaggerated often tho) so I don't know what his real stats were. He'd score a long TD, Jets would score, he'd return the kickoff, Jets would then punt, he'd return that....I would guess Galloway that day was the fastest player in NFL history.

Looking more...Albert Haynesworth getting up and catching Reggie Wayne or Greg Jennings from behind seemed super-human, impossible, etc.

Lawrence Taylor could run from the DE spot and catch Eric Dickerson, Payton, young Randall (pick your player from that time) from behind.

I appreciate these last two most of all.

 
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ghostguy123

Footballguy
Looking more...Albert Haynesworth getting up and catching Reggie Wayne or Greg Jennings from behind seemed super-human, impossible, etc.

Lawrence Taylor could run from the DE spot and catch Eric Dickerson, Payton, young Randall (pick your player from that time) from behind.

I appreciate these last two most of all.
Which is why the 40 should be (for offensive skill guys) run with a ball in their hands in zigzags dodging targets.

 

Xue

Footballguy
ghostguy123 said:
Has anyone mentioned yet that the 40 is the dumbest thing ever?? I mean, it's fun to talk about sometimes, but there is no tangible use for a 40 time at all.

You want the 40 to be a little more accurate?? Make the RBs wear pads and carry a football while running in zigzags. WHile people are swinging their hands at them trying to strip the ball.

Not running it in sprinters shoes with little biker shorts, no shirt, and not even really looking where they are going.
Hand timing the 40 is the dumbest thing ever. The 40 itself isn't dumb if you're measuring it correctly and measure every 10-yard increment. The times for each interval can be meaningful to determine top end speed/acceleration, which is more important because some guys have a bad start and some a great one.

 

ghostguy123

Footballguy
ghostguy123 said:
Has anyone mentioned yet that the 40 is the dumbest thing ever?? I mean, it's fun to talk about sometimes, but there is no tangible use for a 40 time at all.

You want the 40 to be a little more accurate?? Make the RBs wear pads and carry a football while running in zigzags. WHile people are swinging their hands at them trying to strip the ball.

Not running it in sprinters shoes with little biker shorts, no shirt, and not even really looking where they are going.
Hand timing the 40 is the dumbest thing ever. The 40 itself isn't dumb if you're measuring it correctly and measure every 10-yard increment. The times for each interval can be meaningful to determine top end speed/acceleration, which is more important because some guys have a bad start and some a great one.
I would agree with everything you just said..................if they ran the 40 in pads and in a way that more accurately represents what their position does.

 

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