10 Fastest 40-Yard Dash Runs In Nfl History

Football players are some of the most impressive human beings on Earth. Their skills and talent are immense, and they deserve the praise they get. People look up to them and hope to one day achieve their success.

One thing to remember is that they didn’t become famous overnight. Just like everyone else, they owe their success to hard work, dedication, and of course, their skills and abilities.

Achieving success on the football field requires a lot of skills. Among those skills is speed. One has to be quick to survive a game; otherwise, your opponents will destroy you. One of the ways the NFL distinguishes this skill is through the 40-yard dash run.

There have been many speedy athletes in the course of NFL history, but none as fast as these.

#10 Jacoby Ford

40 Yard Time: 4.28 seconds
 College Team: Clemson University
Position: Wide Receiver
 NFL Team: Oakland Raiders (2010–2013), New York Jets (2014), Tennessee Titans (2015), Edmonton Eskimos (2016), Montreal Alouettes (2016), Saskatchewan Roughriders (2017)

Jacoby Fordphoto source: Fansided

Jacoby Ford played receiver for four years at Clemson University. Each year, he got better. Finally, at the NFL combine in 2010, he had a chance to move up in the draft order. Ford was expected to be picked in the fifth or sixth round, but his 4.28 forty-yard dash made him stand out.

In the NFL draft, the Oakland Raiders picked Ford in the middle of the fourth round.

Ford was the starting quarterback for nine games in his first season. Two years later, he had surgery on his foot, and when he returned, he never got the same chances as a rookie. He was no longer playing in the NFL by 2014.

Did You Know:

While he was at Clemson, he also ran track and, in 2009, became an NCAA champion.

#9 J.J. Nelson

40 Yard Time: 4.28 seconds
 College Team: University of Alabama at Birmingham
Position: Wide Receiver
 NFL Team: Oakland Raiders (2019), Arizona Cardinals (2015–2018), San Francisco 49ers (2020), Indianapolis Colts (2021), Buffalo Bills (2020)

J.J. Nelsonphoto source: Wikipedia

Born and raised in Midfield, Alabama, J.J. Nelson is a wide receiver for the Indianapolis Colts. He played UAB in college and his 4.28 time at the NFL Scouting Combine made him stand out. The Arizona Cardinals picked up Nelson in the fifth round of the 2015 NFL Draft.

Later, he joined the Oakland Raiders in 2019 and the San Francisco 49ers in 2020. Finally, Nelson joined the practice squad of the Buffalo Bills on January 1, 2021, but he was fired a few days later.

On February 1, 2021, Nelson and the Indianapolis Colts made a deal for the future.

Did You Know:

His performance during week 2 of the 2017 season earned him the honor of NFC Offensive Player of the Week.

#8 Jalen Myrick

40 Yard Time: 4.28 seconds
 College Team: Minnesota
Position: Cornerback
 NFL Team: Jacksonville Jaguars (2017), Minnesota Vikings (2018–2019), Atlanta Falcons (2019)

Jalen Myrickphoto source: Atlanta Falcons

This Savannah native played college football for Minnesota from 2013-2016. He also ran track in high school, aside from playing football. At the 2017 NFL Combine, Jalen Myrick ran the 40-yard dash in 4.28 seconds, which was the fastest time of any defensive back that year.

The Jacksonville Jaguars picked Myrick with the 222nd in the NFL Draft in 2017. This was in the seventh round. After playing for the Jaguars, Myrick was signed by the Minnesota Vikings in 2018 and then by the Atlanta Falcons in 2019.

After Myrick was cut from the Falcons, he was briefly picked up by the DC Defenders for the XFL in 2020. However, his career was cut short after he was placed on the injured reserve.

Did You Know:

Jalen Myrick returned to his Alma Mater as an Assistant Coach in 2022.

#7 Tyrone Calico

40 Yard Time: 4.27 seconds
 College Team: Middle Tennessee State
Position: Wide Receiver
 NFL Team: Tennessee Titans (2003–2005)

Tyrone Calicophoto source: Wikipedia

Tyrone Calico began his college career as a wide receiver for Middle Tennessee State University.

In 2003, the Tennessee Titans picked him after he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.34 seconds at the NFL Scouting Combine. He scored four touchdowns in his first season.

In 2005, the Titans let Roy Williams go after he hurt his knee with an illegal horse collar tackle.

#6 Stanford Routt

40 Yard Time: 4.27 seconds
 College Team: Houston
Position: Cornerback
 NFL Team: Oakland Raiders (2005–2011), Kansas City Chiefs (2012), Houston Texans (2012)

Stanford Routtphoto source: Bleacher Report

Stanford Routt, born in Austin, Texas, excelled in football and track & field throughout his high school career. After playing college football for Houston, he was selected by the Oakland Raiders in the second round of the NFL Draft in 2005.

Routt ran the 40-yard dash in 4.27 seconds, the fastest time since the NFL began using electronic timing at the NFL Scouting Combine in 2005.

Between 2005 and 2011, he was a member of the Raiders football team. In addition to that, he had a career with the Kansas City Chiefs and the Houston Texans.

Did You Know:

After claiming victory in both the 60-meter and the 200-meter sprints in 2004, Routt was selected as the Indoor Track Athlete of the Year by the Conference USA.

#5 Marquise Goodwin

40 Yard Time: 4.27 seconds
 College Team: Texas
Position: Wide Receiver
 NFL Team: Buffalo Bills (2013–2016), San Francisco 49ers (2017–2019), Philadelphia Eagles (2020), Chicago Bears (2021), Seattle Seahawks (2022–present)

Marquise Goodwinphoto source: Sports Illustrated

Marquise Derell Goodwin was born on November 19, 1990, and is better known by his admirers as “Flash.” His 4.27 second 40-yard dash time earned him much attention, and the Buffalo Bills selected him in 2013.

Goodwin also excelled in track and is a former Olympian. Goodwin competed for the United States in the London Olympics in 2012 and the Pan American Games in 2015, where he got silver.

He has excelled in the triple jump, the 60-meter dash, and the 100-meter dash. He has also engaged in sprints and long jumps.

Did You Know:

While still a student at the University of Texas, Goodwin won two long jump NCAA championships.

#4 Jerome Mathis

40 Yard Time: 4.26 seconds
 College Team: Hampton
Position: Wide Receiver
 NFL Team: Houston Texans (2005–2007)

Jerome Mathisphoto source: Chron

Although his name isn’t recognizable today, Jerome Mathis was quite successful in the early 2000s. Mathis, a sprint and field star in Virginia, specialized in returns throughout college.

In 2005, he recorded one of the top 40-yard times in NFL history with a 4.26. He was selected in the fourth round of the 2005 NFL Draft, but his NFL career was short-lived.

He only played in the NFL for three years, from 2005 until 2007. His post-NFL career has been riddled with injuries and controversies.

Did You Know:

In 2018, he was inducted into the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Hall of Fame.

#3 Dri Archer

40 Yard Time: 4.26 seconds
 College Team: Kent State
Position: Running Back
 NFL Team: Pittsburgh Steelers (2014–2015), Buffalo Bills (2016), New York Jets (2016)

Dri Archerphoto source: Bleacher Report

Born in Tampa, Florida, Dri Archer was a promising athlete. He played college football for Kent State and made it his goal to break the record for the 40-yard dash time. While Archer didn’t quite accomplish that, he did solidify his place in the draft.

Overall, Archer’s 40-yard dash time became the second-fastest since 1999, and the Pittsburgh Steelers drafted him.

Archer made his NFL debut against the Cleveland Browns on September 7, 2014. Ten carries for 40 yards and seven receptions for 23 yards were all that Archer managed in his debut season. Later, he would play for the New York Jets and the Buffalo Bills.

Did You Know:

Aside from football, he also ran track and played basketball.

#2 Chris Johnson

40 Yard Time: 4.24 seconds
 College Team: East Carolina
Position: Running Back
 NFL Team: Tennessee Titans (2008–2013), New York Jets (2014), Arizona Cardinals (2015–2017)

Chris Johnsonphoto source: Wikipedia

Chris Johnson was born in Orlando, Florida, and played college football at East Carolina University, where he scored 24 touchdowns and a total of 2,960 yards. He was picked up by the Tennessee Titans in the first round of the 2008 NFL Draft.

At the NFL Combine, he broke the record for the 40-yard dash by running it in 4.24 seconds.

He is the only player in NFL history to score six touchdowns on 80 yards or more runs. In 2009, the NFL named him Offensive Player of the Year.

Johnson later played for the New York Jets for one season and then for the Arizona Cardinals for three seasons. Then, in 2015, he had a brief comeback cut short by an injury.

Did You Know:

Chris Johnson raced against a cheetah for the National Geographic program “Man V. Cheetah.”

#1 John Ross

40 Yard Time: 4.22 seconds
 College Team: Washington
Position: Wide Receiver
 NFL Team: Cincinnati Bengals (2017–2020), New York Giants (2021)

John Rossphoto source: NFL

John Ross has the fastest 40-yard dash time of all time, which is 4.22 seconds. He is often called the “LeBron James of the 40-yard dash.” He was born in Long Beach, California, and the Cincinnati Bengals picked him in the 2017 draft.

His record of 4.22 seconds for a 40-yard dash made him well-known before playing in the NFL.

Sadly, due to injuries and other problems, he hasn’t lived up to his potential. So in 2021, he started playing for the New York Giants instead of the Bengals.

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