Special Report

The Fastest NFL Players of the Century

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Ahead of the football season, fans are excitedly looking over the capabilities of the players and hoping that their team have players that can make a positive impact.

One of the most important traits in teams is speed. Offensive players who can outrun their opponents – and defenders who can keep up with anyone on the field – are always in high demand.

To determine the fastest NFL players of the century, 24/7 Tempo reviewed 40-yard dash results from the NFL combine since 2000 from Pro Football Reference. Only players who have played in the NFL or are part of the 2022 NFL Draft, were considered.

The fastest players on the football field almost always play one of two positions – cornerback or wide receiver. Speedy receivers are coveted for their ability to run past defensive backs for deep passes, and fast corners are essential to keep up with those receivers.

Only one prospect who didn’t play receiver or corner has run a 40-yard dash in 4.3 seconds or less in the last two decades – running back Chris Johnson. The speedy back is one of just eight players to rush for over 2,000 yards in a season. He is also the most recent, amassing 2,006 yards in 2009 with the Tennessee Titans (which is, nonetheless, one of the 12 NFL teams that have never won a Super Bowl.)

Click here to see the fastest NFL players of the century

Running well at the combine often causes players to shoot up draft boards. Of the 16 players who ran the 40-yard dash in 4.3 or fewer seconds in years past, 11 were drafted in the first three rounds. The three prospects who ran sub-4.3 40-yard dashes in 2022 could be drafted highly as well.

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19. Jamel Dean
> 40-yard dash: 4.30 seconds
> College: Auburn
> Position: Cornerback
> Drafted: 3rd round, 94th pick, 2019
> Drafted by: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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Source: Justin Berl / Getty Images Sport via Getty Images

18. Darrius Heyward-Bey
> 40-yard dash: 4.30 seconds
> College: Maryland
> Position: Wide receiver
> Drafted: 1st round, 7th pick, 2009
> Drafted by: Oakland Raiders

Source: Chris Graythen / Getty Images Sport via Getty Images

17. Mike Thomas
> 40-yard dash: 4.30 seconds
> College: Arizona
> Position: Wide receiver
> Drafted: 4th round, 107th pick, 2009
> Drafted by: Jacksonville Jaguars

Source: Christian Petersen / Getty Images Sport via Getty Images

16. Javelin Guidry
> 40-yard dash: 4.29 seconds
> College: Utah
> Position: Cornerback
> Drafted: Undrafted
> Drafted by: Signed with New York Jets as an undrafted free agent

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Source: Andy Lyons / Getty Images Sport via Getty Images

15. Josh Robinson
> 40-yard dash: 4.29 seconds
> College: Central Florida
> Position: Cornerback
> Drafted: 3rd round, 66th pick, 2012
> Drafted by: Minnesota Vikings

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14. Tyquan Thornton
> 40-yard dash: 4.28 seconds
> College: Baylor
> Position: Wide receiver
> Drafted: TBD
> Drafted by: TBD

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13. Rondale Moore
> 40-yard dash: 4.28 seconds
> College: Purdue
> Position: Wide receiver
> Drafted: 2nd round, 49th pick, 2021
> Drafted by: Arizona Cardinals

Source: Sean M. Haffey / Getty Images Sport via Getty Images

12. Jalen Myrick
> 40-yard dash: 4.28 seconds
> College: Minnesota
> Position: Cornerback
> Drafted: 7th round, 222nd pick, 2017
> Drafted by: Jacksonville Jaguars

Source: Norm Hall / Getty Images Sport via Getty Images

11. J.J. Nelson
> 40-yard dash: 4.28 seconds
> College: Alabama-Birmingham
> Position: Wide receiver
> Drafted: 5th round, 159th pick, 2015
> Drafted by: Arizona Cardinals

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Source: Justin Edmonds / Getty Images Sport via Getty Images

10. Demarcus Van Dyke
> 40-yard dash: 4.28 seconds
> College: Miami (FL)
> Position: Cornerback
> Drafted: 3rd round, 81st pick, 2011
> Drafted by: Oakland Raiders

Source: Brian Bahr / Getty Images Sport via Getty Images

9. Jacoby Ford
> 40-yard dash: 4.28 seconds
> College: Clemson
> Position: Wide receiver
> Drafted: 4th round, 108th pick, 2010
> Drafted by: Oakland Raiders

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8. Anthony Schwartz
> 40-yard dash: 4.27 seconds
> College: Auburn
> Position: Wide receiver
> Drafted: 3rd round, 91st pick, 2021
> Drafted by: Cleveland Browns

Source: Justin K. Aller / Getty Images Sport via Getty Images

7. Henry Ruggs III
> 40-yard dash: 4.27 seconds
> College: Alabama
> Position: Wide receiver
> Drafted: 1st round, 12th pick, 2020
> Drafted by: Las Vegas Raiders

Source: Bobby Ellis / Getty Images Sport via Getty Images

6. Marquise Goodwin
> 40-yard dash: 4.27 seconds
> College: Texas
> Position: Wide receiver
> Drafted: 3rd round, 78th pick, 2013
> Drafted by: Buffalo Bills

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Source: via Facebook / courtesy Tariq Woolen of

5. Tariq Woolen
> 40-yard dash: 4.26 seconds
> College: Texas-San Antonio
> Position: Cornerback
> Drafted: TBD
> Drafted by: TBD

Source: Justin K. Aller / Getty Images Sport via Getty Images

4. Dri Archer
> 40-yard dash: 4.26 seconds
> College: Kent State
> Position: Wide receiver
> Drafted: 3rd round, 97th pick, 2014
> Drafted by: Pittsburgh Steelers

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Source: Rick Stewart / Getty Images Sport via Getty Images

3. Chris Johnson
> 40-yard dash: 4.24 seconds
> College: East Carolina
> Position: Running back
> Drafted: 1st round, 24th pick, 2008
> Drafted by: Tennessee Titans

Source: Justin Casterline / Getty Images Sport via Getty Images

2. Kalon Barnes
> 40-yard dash: 4.23 seconds
> College: Baylor
> Position: Cornerback
> Drafted: TBD
> Drafted by: TBD

Source: Andy Lyons / Getty Images Sport via Getty Images

1. John Ross
> 40-yard dash: 4.22 seconds
> College: Washington
> Position: Wide receiver
> Drafted: 1st round, 9th pick, 2017
> Drafted by: Cincinnati Bengals

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