10 Fastest 40-yard Dash Times in NFL History

The fastest 40-yard dash time in NFL history is considered a benchmark of elite speed and athleticism. Many players have come close to breaking the record over the years, but only a select few have achieved the coveted title of the fastest 40-yard dash in NFL history.

The record holder is widely known as one of the most electric and exciting players in the league, a player who can change the game with his speed and quickness. Although many players have been chasing the record, it still holds today as one of the most impressive achievements in the NFL.

The 40-yard dash has been a part of the NFL Scouting Combine since the beginning, and the race to become the fastest 40-yard dash in NFL history is a yearly event to watch for.

10. Henry Ruggs III

Speed Time: 4.27 seconds
Birthday: January 24, 1999
Birthplace: Montgomery, Alabama
 Pro Career Started: 2020
 Team: Free Agent

Henry Ruggs IIIphoto source: nfl.com

Henry James Ruggs III is a wide receiver who participated on the Alabama squad that won the 2018 College Football Playoff National Championship while playing college football there. The Raiders selected Ruggs in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft.

Ruggs was the team’s primary kick returner during his junior year, averaging 23.8 yards per return. With 24 receiving touchdowns in his career, he ranks third all-time for Alabama.

Did You Know:

Ruggs did not begin playing high school football until his junior year, and he received his first scholarship offer after only his second game on the field.


9. Stanford Routt

Speed Time: 4.27 seconds
Birthday: July 26, 1983
Birthplace: Austin, Texas
 Pro Career Started: 2005
 Team: Baltimore Ravens (2013)

Stanford Routtphoto source: bleacherreport.net

Routt attended John B. Connally High School in Austin, Texas, where he excelled in both football and track. He was a unanimous All-District and All-America pick in track, as well as a state qualifier in both the 200-meter dash and the 4 400-meter relay team. He ran the ninth-fastest 200-meter dash in the country as a junior.

Routt ran the quickest 40-yard sprint at the 2005 NFL Scouting Combine, clocking in at 4.27 seconds, the fastest mark since the NFL began using electronic timing. In 2008, running back Chris Johnson broke his record with a time of 4.24 seconds.

Did You Know:

Stanford Routt was named NCAA Outdoor All-America after finishing third in the 200 meters in the 2003 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships. Routt was named Conference USA’s Indoor Track Athlete of the Year in 2004 after winning the 60-meter and 200-meter sprints.


8. Marquise Goodwin

Speed Time: 4.27 seconds
Birthday: November 19, 1990
Birthplace: Lubbock, Texas
 Pro Career Started: 2013
 Team: Seattle Seahawks

Marquise Goodwinphoto source: nfl.com

Marquise Derell Goodwin is an American football wide receiver for the National Football League’s Seattle Seahawks. He was also an Olympian in track and field, competing in the long jump. The Buffalo Bills chose him in the third round (78th overall) of the 2013 NFL Draft. He went to Texas to play college football.

His specialty in track and field is the long jump, in which he won two national college titles. Goodwin won silver in the 2008 IAAF World Junior Championships, the 2011 World University Games, the 2011 IAAF World Championships, the 2012 Summer Olympics, and the 2015 Pan American Games. He has participated as a long jumper, sprinter, and triple jumper and has been a top participant in the 60 and 100-meter dashes and the triple leap.

Did You Know:

Goodwin competed in the long jump field at the 2020 Olympic Trials in June 2021. Goodwin, however, could not qualify for the Games after finishing 19th out of 24 jumpers with a best jump of 24 feet, 10 inches.


7. Jerome Mathis

Speed Time: 4.26 seconds
Birthday: July 26, 1983
Birthplace: Petersburg, Virginia
 Pro Career Started: 2005
 Team: Pittsburgh Power (2011)

Jerome Mathisphoto source: hdnux.com

Jerome Alvon Mathis is a former wide receiver and kicks returner for the United States and Canada. He was picked in the fourth round of the 2005 NFL Draft by the Houston Texans. He was named to the Pro Bowl and was an All-Pro with the Texans in 2005.

During his debut season with the Texans, he was named to the AFC Pro Bowl as the team’s starting kick returner. He was one of three rookies chosen to play in the game.

Mathis fractured his left foot during the Pro Bowl in January 2006, but it wasn’t noticed until OTAs months later. He was supposed to miss only four months, but he ended up missing six. After missing the first nine games of the season, he returned to practice in November 2006.

Did You Know:

Mathis set the third-fastest 40-yard dash time (4.26 seconds) at the NFL Combine, trailing only Chris Johnson in 2008 and John Ross in 2017. Dri Archer equaled his time in 2014.


6. Tariq Woolen

Speed Time: 4.26 seconds
Birthday: May 2, 1999
Birthplace: Fort Worth, Texas
 Pro Career Started: 2022
 Team: Seattle Seahawks

Tariq Woolenphoto source: larrybrownsports.com

Tariq Woolen, a cornerback for the National Football League’s Seattle Seahawks, was born on May 2, 1999. In the fifth round of the 2022 NFL Draft, the Seahawks selected him out of UTSA, where he played college football.

At UTSA, Woolen redshirted his first season. He caught 15 passes as a wide receiver in his redshirt freshman season for 158 yards and one touchdown.

Woolen finished third in the 40-yard dash at the 2022 NFL Combine with a time of 4.26 seconds, the fastest time ever for a player over six feet. He was chosen 153rd overall in the fifth round of the 2022 NFL Draft by the Seattle Seahawks.


5. Dri Archer

Speed Time: 4.26 seconds
Birthday: August 9, 1991
Birthplace: Tampa, Florida
 Pro Career Started: 2014
 Team: Buffalo Bills (2016)

Dri Archerphoto source: espncdn.com

Adrion Dante “Dri” Archer is a former running back and returns specialist in the National Football League. The Pittsburgh Steelers selected him in the third round of the 2014 NFL Draft. He attended and played football at Kent State University. Archer has also played for the New York Jets and the Buffalo Bills.

Archer made his NFL debut on September 7, 2014, against the Cleveland Browns. Archer had ten carries for 40 yards and seven receptions for 23 yards in 12 games as a rookie, in addition to sporadic kickoff return responsibilities.

Did You Know:

Archer won the MAC Special Teams Player of the Year award. He was named to the All-MAC first team as a running back and kick returner. He was also a Paul Hornung Award finalist. Archer was a unanimous All-American selection.


4. Rondel Menendez

Speed Time: 4.24 seconds
Birthday: May 18, 1975
Birthplace: Louisville, Kentucky
 Pro Career Started: 1999
 Team: Frankfurt Galaxy (2001)

Rondel Menendezphoto source: thepostgame.com

Rondel Menendez is a former wide receiver in American football. The Atlanta Falcons selected him in the seventh round of the 1999 NFL Draft out of Eastern Kentucky University. He and Chris Johnson shared the record for the fastest 40-yard dash time at the NFL Combine, which was 4.24 seconds.

Menendez had a breakout season in his junior year during his college, totaling 1,137 yards on 54 receptions after accumulating 821 yards receiving in his first two years with Eastern Kentucky. Menendez gained 280 yards receiving in a game against Eastern Illinois this season, the second-highest single-game receiving yard total in school history.

Menendez had a second consecutive 1,000-yard receiving season as a senior, totaling 1,032 yards and 11 receiving touchdowns.


3. Chris Johnson

Speed Time: 4.24 seconds
Birthday: May 18, 1975
Birthplace: Orlando, Florida
 Pro Career Started: 2008
 Team: Arizona Cardinals (2017)

Chris Johnsonphoto source: sportscasting.com

Christopher Duan Johnson is a former running back who was born in Orlando, Florida and made his East Carolina University debut as a senior, racking up 2,960 all-purpose yards and 24 touchdowns. He was drafted in the first round of the 2008 NFL Draft by the Tennessee Titans after running a then-record-breaking 4.24 seconds in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine.

Johnson was born on September 23, 1985, in Orlando, Florida. He was a football player at Olympia High School in Orlando. Johnson, a two-star recruit according to Rivals.com, was not ranked among the nation’s top running back prospects in 2004. East Carolina was chosen over Eastern Kentucky, USF, and UConn.

Did You Know:

Johnson’s track and field personal bests are 10.38 seconds in the 100 meters and 21.28 seconds in the 200 meters.


2. Kalon Barnes

Speed Time: 4.23 seconds
Birthday: December 16, 1998
Birthplace: Silsbee, Texas
 Pro Career Started: 2022
 Team: Minnesota Vikings

Kalon Barnesphoto source: vox.com

Kalon Barnes is a cornerback for the Minnesota Vikings of the National Football League. He attended and played football at Baylor University.

Barnes was a wide receiver at Silsbee High School. Barnes committed to Baylor on May 4, 2017, as a three-star recruit fresh out of high school. The Carolina Panthers selected Barnes in the seventh round (242nd overall) of the 2022 NFL Draft.

Did You Know:

Barnes, who also competed in track and field, won both the 100m and 200m at the UIL Track and Field Championships in 2017 and 2018. In 2018, he ran the 100m in 10.04 seconds with wind assistance (+3.2 m/s).


1. John Ross

Speed Time: 4.22 seconds
Birthday: November 27, 1995
Birthplace: Long Beach, California
 Pro Career Started: 2017
 Team: Kansas City Chiefs

John Rossphoto source: vox.com

John Ellis Ross III has the fastest 40-yard dash time in NFL History with 4.22 seconds. He is an American football wide receiver for the National Football League’s Kansas City Chiefs. He attended the University of Washington before being drafted ninth overall by the Cincinnati Bengals in the 2017 NFL Draft. Ross has played for the Cincinnati Bengals and the New York Giants throughout his NFL career.

He ran track and played wide receiver and cornerback in football. Ross finished third in the 100 meters as a senior in the 2013 CIF Southern Section Division 1 final, clocking 10.66 seconds. In addition, he ran the 200m in 21.56 seconds.

Did You Know:

ESPN rated Ross as a four-star recruit and ranked him the state’s No. 49 overall prospect. He has committed to playing college football at the University of Washington.

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