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The Fastest NFL Players of All Time

Updated December 27, 2019 33.6k votes 4.1k voters 45.0k 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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  • Bob Hayes1
    1,082
    449

    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#125 of 1,323 The Best Football Players Ever

  • Darrell Green2
    1,075
    447

    Darrell Green

    Cornerback

    BirthplaceHouston, Texas

    Age60

    TeamsWashington Redskins

    More Darrell Green 

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

  • Bo Jackson3
    1,619
    705

    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#413 of 708 The Best Hitters in Baseball History

  • Chris Johnson4
    947
    388

    Chris Johnson

    Running back, Return specialist

    BirthplaceOrlando, Florida

    Age35

    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

  • Deion Sanders5
    1,394
    600

    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

    More Deion Sanders 

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

  • Tyreek Hill6
    1,925
    851

    Tyreek Hill

    Wide Receiver, Return specialist

    BirthplaceGeorgia

    Age26

    TeamsKansas City Chiefs

  • Devin Hester7
    810
    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

  • Randy Moss8
    872
    422

    Randy Moss

    Wide receiver

    BirthplaceRand, West Virginia

    Age43

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

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    #216 of 329 The Most Obnoxious Athletes#1 of 58 The Best College Football Wide Receivers of All Time

  • John Ross9
    705
    332
  • DeSean Jackson10
    661
    316

    DeSean Jackson

    Wide receiver

    BirthplaceLos Angeles, California, United States of America

    Age29

    TeamsPhiladelphia Eagles

    More DeSean Jackson 

    #276 of 322 People Who Should Be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame#69 of 115 The Greatest Washington Redskins of All Time

  • Michael Vick11
    727
    367

    Michael Vick

    Quarterback

    BirthplaceVirginia

    Age40

    TeamsVirginia Tech Hokies football, Atlanta Falcons, Philadelphia Eagles

    More Michael Vick 

    #41 of 252 The Best Quarterbacks Of All Time#11 of 53 The Best No. 1 Overall NFL Draft Picks Of All Time, Ranked

  • Barry Sanders12
    616
    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
    296
    125

    Dante Hall

    Return specialist, Punt returner

    BirthplaceLufkin, Texas

    Age42

    TeamsSt. Louis Rams, Kansas City Chiefs

  • Marquise Goodwin14
    372
    217

    Marquise Goodwin

    Wide receiver

    BirthplaceLubbock, Texas

    Age29

    TeamsSan Francisco 49ers

  • Ted Ginn, Jr.15
    352
    218

    Ted Ginn, Jr.

    Wide receiver

    BirthplaceCleveland, Ohio

    Age35

    TeamsNew Orleans Saints

  • Willie Gault16
    322
    196

    Willie Gault

    Wide receiver

    BirthplaceGriffin, Georgia, United States of America

    Age60

    TeamsChicago Bears, Tennessee Volunteers football, Los Angeles Raiders

  • Champ Bailey17
    277
    167

    Champ Bailey

    Cornerback

    BirthplaceFort Campbell, Kentucky

    Age42

    TeamsWashington Redskins, Denver Broncos, Georgia Bulldogs football team

    More Champ Bailey 

    #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
    281
    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
    254
    160

    Jamaal Charles

    Running back

    BirthplacePort Arthur, Texas

    Age33

    TeamsKansas City Chiefs, Texas Longhorns football

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    #38 of 206 The Best NFL Running Backs of All Time#9 of 61 The Best Texas Longhorns Football Players of All Time

  • Walter Payton20
    267
    181

    Walter Payton

    Running back

    BirthplaceColumbia, Mississippi, United States of America

    AgeDied at 45 (1954-1999)

    TeamsChicago Bears

    More Walter Payton 

    #327 of 583 The Greatest Entertainers of All Time#550 of 1,427 The Best Athletes Of All Time

  • Brandin Cooks21
    289
    211

    Brandin Cooks

    Wide receiver

    BirthplaceStockton, California

    Age27

    TeamsLos Angeles Rams

  • Julio Jones22
    279
    209

    Julio Jones

    Wide receiver

    BirthplaceFoley, Alabama

    Age26

    TeamsAtlanta Falcons

  • Herschel Walker23
    153
    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

    More Herschel Walker 

    #1 of 44 The Best University of Georgia Football Players of All Time#9 of 15 The Worst NFL Trades Ever Made

  • Eric Dickerson24
    159
    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

  • Tavon Austin25
    187
    137

    Tavon Austin