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4.1k voters

The Fastest NFL Players of All Time

Updated December 27, 2019 33.7k votes 4.1k voters 45.1k views106 items

List RulesBest players in NFL history who were known for their elite speed

This list is composed of the fastest NFL players of all time, ranked by overall speed and talent level. The NFL measures straight-line speed at the yearly NFL combine, with John Ross breaking the 40-yard dash record in 2017 with a blazing 4.22-second dash. However, that speed does not always translate to the field. Fans often tell tales of the greatest wide receiver of all time, Jerry Rice, who only ran a 4.71 40-yard dash yet displayed elite on-field speed with pads on.

This list is a collection of which players displayed the most jaw-dropping, game-changing speed in NFL history. It's no coincidence that many of these players also find themselves among the greatest NFL players of all time. Typically, the fastest NFL players are running backs, wide receivers, and cornerbacks, although certain anomalies like Michael Vick find themselves among the fastest NFL players due to top-notch speed.

Go ahead and rank the fastest NFL players of all time, and when you're done, head on over to rank the fastest NBA players of all time

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  • Darrell Green1
    1,080
    447

    Darrell Green

    Cornerback

    BirthplaceHouston, Texas

    Age60

    TeamsWashington Redskins

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    #43 of 432 The Greatest Defenders in NFL History#17 of 69 The Best NFL Players From Texas

  • Bob Hayes2
    1,085
    450

    Bob Hayes

    Wide receiver

    BirthplaceJacksonville, Florida

    AgeDec. at 60 (1942-2002)

    TeamsDallas Cowboys

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    #38 of 214 The Best Wide Receivers of All Time#124 of 1,323 The Best Football Players Ever

  • Bo Jackson3
    1,620
    706

    Bo Jackson

    Running back

    BirthplaceBessemer, Alabama, United States of America

    Age57

    TeamsKansas City Royals, Chicago White Sox, Oakland Raiders, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

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    #34 of 150 Athletes You Didn't Know Were Conservative#425 of 568 American Public Figures Who Are National Treasures

  • Tyreek Hill4
    1,927
    851

    Tyreek Hill

    Wide Receiver, Return specialist

    BirthplaceGeorgia

    Age26

    TeamsKansas City Chiefs

  • Devin Hester5
    813
    325

    Devin Hester

    Wide receiver

    BirthplaceRiviera Beach, Florida, United States of America

    Age33

    TeamsChicago Bears, Miami Hurricanes football

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    #12 of 64 The Best Miami Football Players of All Time#10 of 144 The Greatest Chicago Bears of All Time

  • Deion Sanders6
    1,397
    601

    Deion Sanders

    Cornerback, Punt returner

    BirthplaceFort Myers, Florida, United States of America

    Age53

    TeamsFlorida State Seminoles baseball, Washington Redskins, San Francisco Giants, Atlanta Braves, Atlanta Falcons

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    #132 of 149 The Greatest New York Yankees Of All Time#28 of 106 The Best Atlanta Braves Of All Time

  • Chris Johnson7
    947
    390

    Chris Johnson

    Running back, Return specialist

    BirthplaceOrlando, Florida

    Age30

    TeamsTennessee Titans

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    #33 of 225 The Best Arizona Cardinals of All Time#14 of 55 The Best NFL Players From Florida

  • John Ross8
    708
    333
  • Randy Moss9
    872
    424

    Randy Moss

    Wide receiver

    BirthplaceRand, West Virginia

    Age43

    TeamsOakland Raiders, New England Patriots, San Francisco 49ers, Tennessee Titans, Minnesota Vikings

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    #1 of 58 The Best College Football Wide Receivers of All Time#66 of 85 Great Athletes Who Waited Too Long To Retire

  • DeSean Jackson10
    661
    318

    DeSean Jackson

    Wide receiver

    BirthplaceLos Angeles, California, United States of America

    Age29

    TeamsPhiladelphia Eagles

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    #276 of 322 People Who Should Be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame#68 of 115 The Greatest Washington Redskins of All Time

  • Michael Vick11
    727
    368

    Michael Vick

    Quarterback

    BirthplaceVirginia

    Age35

    TeamsAtlanta Falcons, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers

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    #42 of 120 The Best Quarterbacks Of All Time#11 of 53 The Best No. 1 Overall NFL Draft Picks Of All Time, Ranked

  • Barry Sanders12
    617
    308

    Barry Sanders

    Running back

    BirthplaceWichita, Kansas, United States of America

    Age52

    TeamsOklahoma State Cowboys football, Detroit Lions

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    #1 of 119 The Best Detroit Lions of All Time#2 of 26 NFL Players Whose Careers Ended Too Soon

  • Dante Hall13
    298
    125

    Dante Hall

    Return specialist, Punt returner

    BirthplaceLufkin, Texas

    Age42

    TeamsSt. Louis Rams, Kansas City Chiefs

  • Marquise Goodwin14
    372
    219

    Marquise Goodwin

    Wide receiver

    BirthplaceLubbock, Texas

    Age29

    TeamsSan Francisco 49ers

  • Willie Gault15
    323
    196

    Willie Gault

    Wide receiver

    BirthplaceGriffin, Georgia, United States of America

    Age60

    TeamsChicago Bears, Tennessee Volunteers football, Los Angeles Raiders

  • Ted Ginn, Jr.16
    352
    219

    Ted Ginn, Jr.

    Wide receiver

    BirthplaceCleveland, Ohio

    Age35

    TeamsNew Orleans Saints

  • Champ Bailey17
    278
    167

    Champ Bailey

    Cornerback

    BirthplaceFort Campbell, Kentucky

    Age42

    TeamsWashington Redskins, Denver Broncos, Georgia Bulldogs football team

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    #15 of 28 The Best NFL Players With The Most Pro Bowl Appearances#8 of 106 The Best Denver Broncos of All Time

  • Joey Galloway18
    282
    174

    Joey Galloway

    Return specialist, Wide receiver

    BirthplaceBellaire, Ohio, United States of America

    Age44

    TeamsSeattle Seahawks, Pittsburgh Steelers, Washington Redskins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, New England Patriots

    More 

    #21 of 83 The Best Ohio State Buckeyes of All Time#27 of 38 The Best NFL Wide Receivers of the '90s

  • Jamaal Charles19
    256
    160

    Jamaal Charles

    Running back

    BirthplacePort Arthur, Texas

    Age33

    TeamsKansas City Chiefs, Texas Longhorns football

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    #9 of 61 The Best Texas Longhorns Football Players of All Time#13 of 128 The Best Kansas City Chiefs Of All Time

  • Walter Payton20
    269
    181

    Walter Payton

    Running back

    BirthplaceColumbia, Mississippi, United States of America

    AgeDied at 45 (1954-1999)

    TeamsChicago Bears

    More Walter Payton 

    #377 of 753 People We Wish Were Still Alive#327 of 583 The Greatest Entertainers of All Time

  • Brandin Cooks21
    289
    213

    Brandin Cooks

    Wide receiver

    BirthplaceStockton, California

    Age27

    TeamsLos Angeles Rams

  • Herschel Walker22
    155
    99

    Herschel Walker

    Running back, Return specialist

    BirthplaceWrightsville, Georgia, United States of America

    Age58

    TeamsGeorgia Bulldogs football team, New Jersey Generals, Philadelphia Eagles, Minnesota Vikings, Dallas Cowboys

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    #3 of 83 The Best Heisman Trophy Winners of All Time#1 of 44 The Best University of Georgia Football Players of All Time

  • Julio Jones23
    279
    210

    Julio Jones

    Wide receiver

    BirthplaceFoley, Alabama

    Age26

    TeamsAtlanta Falcons

  • Eric Dickerson24
    160
    110

    Eric Dickerson

    Running back

    BirthplaceSealy, Texas, United States of America

    Age55

    TeamsLos Angeles Rams, Indianapolis Colts, Oakland Raiders, SMU Mustangs football, Atlanta Falcons

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    #11 of 36 The Best NFL Running Backs of the 90s#45 of 143 Athletes Whose Careers Ended Too Soon

  • Cliff Branch25
    119
    74

    Cliff Branch

    Wide receiver

    BirthplaceHouston, Texas, United States of America

    Age72