10 Fastest Wide Receivers in the NFL

The NFL season is once again upon us. It’s that time of the year again when you hang out with friends and family on a Monday night and shout at the TV when your favorite player fumbles or scores a touchdown.

Everyone has their favorite teams and players. We’ve probably all had disagreements about which position is most important. People always put the quarterback at the top of their list, but I think the wide receiver is just as important, if not more so.

The wide receiver position has always been one of the toughest and fastest in the NFL. Eight of the ten fastest still-playing NFL players are wide receivers. Because they are always running and used in plays, they are some of the fastest players on the team.

Quarterbacks usually look to them first when the ball is snapped. Wide receivers try to outrun defenders, make quick turns on their routes, and put themselves in good spots to catch a pass.

This article is about the wide receivers considered to be the fastest ever. To find out who’s fastest, we’ll draw on several factors, including their 40-yard dash time and official and unofficial records.

10. DeSean Jackson

40 time: 4.35 seconds
 Team: Philadelphia Eagles (2008–2013), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2017–2018), Washington Redskins (2014–2016), Philadelphia Eagles (2019–2020), Las Vegas Raiders (2021), Los Angeles Rams (2021), Baltimore Ravens (2022–present)
Receiving yards: 11,200
 Receiving touchdowns: 58

DeSean Jacksonphoto source: Wikimedia Commons

Born in Los Angeles in 1986, DeSean Jackson has become one of the NFL’s most dangerous receivers and return specialists. He was the first NFL player chosen for a Pro Bowl as a wide receiver and kick returner. In 2008, he was picked in the second round of the draft by the Philadelphia Eagles.

Later on, he signed with the Washington Redskins in 2014 and with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2017. Then, in 2019, he went back to the Philadelphia Eagles.

Did You Know:

In 2010, he returned a punt for a touchdown against the New York Giants to win the game with no time left.

9. Tyrone Calico

40 time: 4.32 seconds
 Team: Tennessee Titans (2003–2005)
Receiving yards: 501
 Receiving touchdowns: 4

Tyrone Calicophoto source: Wikipedia

Tyrone Calico started as a wide receiver for Middle Tennessee State University in college. At the 2003 NFL Scouting Combine, he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.34 seconds and was drafted by the Tennessee Titans in 2003. In his first season, he scored four touchdowns.

After Roy Williams hurt his knee with an illegal horse-collar tackle in 2005, the Titans let him go.

Did You Know:

The Calgary Stampeders of the Canadian Football League signed him on May 13, 2008, but he was let go after a short while.

8. Darrius Heyward-Bey

40 time: 4.32 seconds
 Team: Oakland Raiders (2009–2012), Indianapolis Colts (2013), Pittsburgh Steelers (2014–2018)
Receiving yards: 2,897
 Receiving touchdowns: 16

Darrius Heyward-Beyphoto source: Wikimedia Commons

Heyward-Bey made a name for himself in high school as a football player. He then went to the University of Maryland to use his skills.

Heyward-Bey was chosen in the first round of the 2009 NFL Draft. He played in 11 games in his first season and caught nine passes for 124 yards. He then changed his number to 85. He played in 56 games for the Raiders and started 53 of them. He caught 140 passes for 2,071 yards and 11 touchdowns. He then joined the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2014.

Did You Know:

Ryan Mundy of the Pittsburgh Steelers hit him so hard that he passed out during a game in Oakland.

7. J.J. Nelson

40 time: 4.28 seconds
 Team: Oakland Raiders (2019), Arizona Cardinals (2015–2018), San Francisco 49ers (2020), Indianapolis Colts (2021), Buffalo Bills (2020)
Receiving yards: 1,475
 Receiving touchdowns: 11

J.J. Nelsonphoto source: Wikimedia Commons

Born in Midfield, Alabama, J.J. Nelson plays wide receiver for the Indianapolis Colts. Nelson was the best special teams player in Conference USA and made the first team of all-conference receivers. In the 2015 NFL Draft, Nelson was selected by the Arizona Cardinals in the fifth round.

Nelson signed with the Oakland Raiders. The Raiders lost Week 3’s game 34-14 despite Nelson catching four passes for 36 yards and a touchdown. In 2020, Nelson signed with the San Francisco 49ers but was put on reserve due to a knee injury.

Nelson joined the Buffalo Bills practice squad on January 1, 2021, but was let go a few days later. Nelson and the Indianapolis Colts made a deal for the future on February 1, 2021.

Did You Know:

Aside from being a great football player, he was also the most valuable on his high school basketball team and won the state 100-meter dash twice.

6. Jacoby Ford

40 time: 4.28 seconds
 Team: Oakland Raiders (2010–2013), New York Jets (2014), Tennessee Titans (2015), Edmonton Eskimos (2016), Montreal Alouettes (2016), Saskatchewan Roughriders (2017)
Receiving yards: 848
 Receiving touchdowns: 9

Jacoby Fordphoto source: Wikimedia Commons

Jacoby Ford was a receiver at Clemson University for four years, and each year he got better. Finally, in 2010, he had a chance to improve his draft position at the NFL combine. Ford was expected to be picked in the fifth or sixth round, but he made a name for himself by running a 4.28 forty-yard dash. As a result, the Oakland Raiders picked Ford in the middle of the fourth round of the NFL draft.

During his first season, Ford was the starter for nine games. Two years later, he had surgery on his foot, and when he came back, he never got the same chances he did as a rookie. By the 2014 season, he was no longer playing in the league.

Did You Know:

Ford set the Raiders franchise record for the most kickoffs returned for touchdowns in franchise history.

5. Marquise Goodwin

40 time: 4.27 seconds
 Team: Buffalo Bills (2013–2016), San Francisco 49ers (2017–2019), Philadelphia Eagles (2020), San Francisco 49ers (2021), Chicago Bears (2021), Seattle Seahawks (2022–present)
Receiving yards: 2,782
 Receiving touchdowns: 16

Marquise Goodwinphoto source: Wikimedia Commons

Dubbed “Flash” by his fans, Marquise Derell Goodwin was born on November 19, 1990. He is a wide receiver and kick returner for the San Francisco 49ers. He is also a former Olympian in track and field who competed in the long jump. In the 2013 NFL Draft, the Buffalo Bills picked him in the third round.

Goodwin also ran for the U.S. in the Olympics in 2012 and the Pan American Games in 2015, where he won silver. He has been a top competitor in the 60-meter dash, the 100-meter dash, and the triple jump. He has also done long jumps and sprints.

Did You Know:

In 2018 he was given the George Halas Award, an honor given by the Pro Football Writers of America to the NFL player who overcame the most adversity.

4. Devin Hester

40 time: 4.24 seconds
 Team: Atlanta Falcons (2014–2015), Chicago Bears (2006–2013), Seattle Seahawks (2016), Baltimore Ravens (2016)
Receiving yards: 3,311
 Receiving touchdowns: 16

Devin Hesterphoto source: Wikimedia Commons

Many consider Devin Hester one of the NFL’s best return specialists of all time. In the 2006 NFL Draft, the Chicago Bears picked him in the second round. Hester was first selected as a cornerback but quickly made a name for himself as a kick returner. Later, he switched positions and became a wide receiver.

During his 11 seasons in the NFL, Hester also played for the Atlanta Falcons, the Baltimore Ravens, and the Seattle Seahawks. After the Seahawks lost to the Falcons, Hester said he was leaving the NFL for good.

Did You Know:

He has the NFL record for the most punt return touchdowns and the most return touchdowns of any kind.

3. Randy Moss

40 time: 4.25 seconds
 Team: Minnesota Vikings (1998–2004), Oakland Raiders (2005–2006), New England Patriots (2007–2010), Minnesota Vikings (2010), Tennessee Titans (2010), San Francisco 49ers (2012)
Receiving yards: 15,292
 Receiving touchdowns: 156

Randy Mossphoto source: Wikimedia Commons

 Randy Moss was the 21st player the Minnesota Vikings took in the first round of the 1998 NFL Draft. He played in the NFL for 14 years. He played for the Vikings from 1998 to 2004 and again in 2010. He also played for the Oakland Raiders, the New England Patriots, the Tennessee Titans, and the San Francisco 49ers.

He was the Vikings’ main offensive player for many years. After his last season with the team in 2010, he was second in the team’s record book for receptions (587), receiving yards (9,316), and touchdowns (93), behind only Hall of Famer Cris Carter.

Moss was one of the best wide receivers the NFL has ever seen. He was always making big plays and burning corners.

Did You Know:

Moss went to the Pro Bowl six times, was named to the All-Pro team four times, and was on the NFL’s All-Decade Team for the 2000s.

2. Tyreek Hill

40 time: 4.24 seconds
 Team: Kansas City Chiefs (2016–2021), Miami Dolphins (2022–present)
Receiving yards: 7,734
 Receiving touchdowns: 59

Tyreek Hillphoto source: Wikimedia Commons

A native of Pearson, Georgia, Tyreek Hill was drafted in the 5th round of the 2016 NFL draft by the Chiefs and played with them until March 2022.

His time of 4.24 seconds for the 40-yard dash is relatively well-known. Hill has scored 71 touchdowns in his career so far. No one comes close to that number, not even Hill, when he’s in his groove. Earlier this year, Tyreek Hill was sent to the Miami Dolphins in a trade.

Did You Know:

His fans started calling him “Cheetah” because of his speed and agility.

1. John Ross

40 time: 4.22 seconds
 Team: Cincinnati Bengals (2017–2020), New York Giants (2021)
Receiving yards: 957
 Receiving touchdowns: 11

John Rossphoto source: NFL

John Ross is truly the G.O.A.T. (Greatest Of All Time) and the fastest wide receiver in the NFL. For a good reason, this legend is often called the LeBron James of 40-yard dashes. He was drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals in 2017 and was already a household name before making his NFL debut due to his 4.22-second 40-yard record.

However, he hasn’t lived up to his status, has been prone to injury, and has been sidelined. Despite this, John Ross is still considered the fastest wide receiver because of his record-breaking 4.22-second yard record. After playing for the Bengals, he started playing for the New York Giants in 2021.

Did You Know:

John Ross played in Snoop Dogg’s All-Star League as a kid and considered Snoop a mentor.

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