NFL Draft and Combine Results: Fastest Forty-Yard Dash Times Ever


Dec 16, 2012; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders running back Darren McFadden (20) attempts to elude Kansas City Chiefs defensive back Tysyn Hartman (31) at the Coliseum. The Raiders defeated the Chiefs 15-0. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-USA TODAY Sports

The 2013 NFL Draft is scheduled to begin on April 25 continuing until Mr. Irrelevant is picked with the last pick of the seventh round on the 27th. The draft is a time of hope just to be drafted for some and the promise of becoming an instant millionaire for others. Future All-Pro players and possible Hall of Fame inductees will hear their name called during the draft but the one thing all draft picks covet is more speed.

Who would have ever thought that picking the arbitrary distance that an average NFL punt travels would weigh so heavily on the future earnings of a given person. The announcement that former Northern Iowa Panther wide receiver Terrell Sinkfield ran a 4.19 forty-yard dash at Minnesota’s Pro Day has sent shockwaves throughout college and pro football.

Everyone wants to know is Sinkfield really that fast?

The 4.19 stopwatch was held by Sinkfield’s agent, which sheds some doubt on the validity of the time. Minnesota Vikings scout Scott Studwell claims Sinkfield never ran below a 4.3. Either way Sinkfield finds himself in company with some elite and some not so elite current and former NFL players.

The following article breaks down the fastest players clocked in the forty-yard dash during the NFL Combine, or as reported during a Pro Day, and where that forty speed helped land said player in his draft.

The first thing to note about posted forty-yard dash times is when and where the times were recorded. Before 1999-2000 hand-held stopwatches were used allowing for some leeway in recorded times.

For example, Bo Jackson has the fastest recorded time at 4.12. That posted time is as unbelievable now as it was in 1986 after he accomplished the feat. Days later Jackson ran a 4.18 helping legitimize the time putting him atop the rarefied air of football speed demons.

Time/Position/Player/School/NFL Team/Year/Draft Selection

4.12 – RB Bo Jackson, Auburn, Oakland Raiders, 1986 No. 1 overall

4.13 – RB Michael Bennett, Wisconsin, Oakland Raiders, 2001 No. 27 overall*

4.14 – WR, Alexander Wright, Auburn, Dallas Cowboys, 1990 No. 26 overall 2nd Round

4.15 – CB Darrell Green, Texas A&I, Washington Redskins, 1983, No. 28 overall

4.17 – RB Ahman Green, Nebraska, Green Bay Packers, 1998 No. 76 overall 3rd Round

4.18 – WR Joey Galloway, Ohio State, Seattle Seahawks, 1995 No. 8 overall

4.21 – CB Deion Sanders, Florida State, Atlanta Falcons, 1989 No. 5 overall

4.21 – WR Kevin Curtis, Utah State, St. Louis Rams, 2003 No. 74 overall

4.21 – WR Don Beebee, Chadron State, Buffalo Bills, 1989 No. 82 overall 3rd Round

4.22 – WR Donte Stallworth, Tennessee, New Orleans Saints, 2002 No. 13 overall

4.23 – RB Willie Parker, North Carolina, Pittsburgh Steelers, 2004 Undrafted

4.24 – WR Rondel Melendez, Eastern Kentucky, Atlanta Falcons, 2009 Undrafted

4.24 – RB Chris Johnson, Eastern Carolina, Tennessee Titans, 2008 No. 24 overall

4.24 – S Taylor Mays, USC, San Francisco 49ers, 2010 No. 49 overall 2nd Round

4.25 – WR Randy Moss, Marshall, Minnesota Vikings, 1998 No. 21 overall

4.25 – QB Michael Vick, Virginia Tech, Atlanta Falcons, No. 1 overall

4.25 – WR Jerome Mathis, Hampton, Houston Texans, No. 114 overall 4th Round

4.27 – WR Marquise Goodwin, Texas, eligible for 2013 NFL Draft

4.27 – WR Devin Hester, Miami (FL), Chicago Bears, No. 57 overall 2nd Round

4.27 – RB Darren McFadden, Arkansas, Oakland Raiders, No. 4 overall

Other Players of Note

Champ Bailey 4.28

Raghib Ismail 4.28

CJ Spiller 4.28

Stanford Routt 4.29

Trindon Holliday 4.29

*Michael Bennett ran a 4.28 with an injured hamstring at the combine then ran again at Wisconsin’s Pro Day nailing a 4.13.