NFL

20 Fastest NFL Players Who Failed Out Of The League

Mike - July 20, 2019
NFL

20 Fastest NFL Players Who Failed Out Of The League

Mike - July 20, 2019
Photo Credit: Bleacher Report

13. Trindon Holliday – KR, Houston Texans/Denver Broncos/Four Other Teams:

Holliday turned heads with a truly insane 40 time, unofficially running a 4.21. Indeed, he had the background to be one of the fastest players in the NFL. He registered the fastest 100-meter dash time for an NCAA football player. But that 4.21 was self-reported, calling its legitimacy into question. He officially ran a 4.34 at the 2010 NFL combine.

Photo Credit: The New York Times

Houston drafted him in the sixth round. After failing to catch on in Texas, he was claimed by the Denver Broncos off of waivers in 2012. He found some success with Denver, recording a 90-yard return TD against Baltimore in the 2012 playoffs. But that was short-lived, as he began bouncing around to four other teams beginning in 2014. Holliday also never caught on as a wide receiver whatsoever. He had some success in the NFL, but it could have been so much more.

Photo Credit: Pro Football Rumors

12. Philip Dorsett – WR, Indianapolis Colts & New England Patriots:

Dorsett was somewhat surprisingly drafted by the Colts in the first round of the 2015 draft. They appeared to have much more glaring needs than wide receiver. But after he ran a 4.33-second 40-yard-dash at the combine, the Colts’ old regime couldn’t resist pairing him with quarterback Andrew Luck.

Photo Credit: Stampede Blue

He had 51 receptions for 753 yards and three touchdowns in two seasons with the Colts, hardly the numbers befitting of first-round expectations. He was traded to the New England Patriots in 2017 and actually won a Super Bowl with them last year. But the speedster still only has 44 receptions for 484 yards and three touchdowns in two years with the Pats, proving he’s a bust.

Photo Credit: Bleacher Report

11. Keith Marshall – RB, Washington Redskins:

Marshall spent much of his collegiate career at Georgia in the shadow of eventual Rams superstar Todd Gurley. Because of that, he was not expected to be drafted high in the 2016 draft – if he was drafted at all.

Photo Credit: Bleacher Report

But he ran a blazing 4.31-second 40 at the combine, prompting the Redskins to take him in the seventh round. He quickly became a preseason hype darling due to his quick 40 time. Unfortunately, Marshall suffered a series of injuries that prevented him from playing a regular-season snap in 2016 and 2017. He was cut before the 2018 season as a result. It may be because of injuries, but Marshall is still a bust who really only had a super-fast 40.

Photo Credit: FOX Sports

10. Darrius Heyward-Bey – WR, Oakland Raiders/Indianapolis Colts/Pittsburgh Steelers:

Heyward-Bey was the definition of a burner. He was also the prototypical example of a draft pick under the old Oakland Raiders regime. The wideout from Maryland ran a blazing 4.30-second 40-yard-dash in 2009.

Photo Credit: Bleacher Report

The Raiders took him with the seventh pick in the 2009 draft amid much criticism. The critics were proved right when he proceeded to bust for the Raiders. His best season was 2011 when he recorded 64 receptions for 975 yards and four touchdowns. He carved out a career mainly on special teams and still plays for the Pittsburgh Steelers. But overall he’s a massive bust based on his draft position. He’s only caught 202 passes for 2,897 yards and 16 touchdowns in his career.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

9. Yamon Figurs – KR, Baltimore Ravens & Five Other Teams:

Figurs ran a blazing 4.3-second 40 in 2007. The Ravens took him in the third round of the draft that year and he played well enough. Filling in for starting kick returner BJ Sams, Figurs returned both a kickoff and a punt for a touchdown in 2007.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

However, he was replaced in the 2008 season and then Baltimore cut him before the 2009 season. Figurs bounced around to the Lions, Raiders, Bucs, Browns, and Titans before fizzling out of the NFL in 2011. Despite his blazing speed, he could never gain any traction in the NFL.

Photo Credit: Florida Times-Union

8. Mike Thomas – WR, Jacksonville Jaguars & Three Other Teams:

He only stands 5’8”, but Thomas was taken in the fourth round of the 2009 draft after a blazing 4.30-second 40-yard dash. Thomas ended his four-year run in Jacksonville with 171 catches, 1,772 yards, and seven touchdowns.

Photo Credit: Bleacher Report

He then bounced around to Detroit, Arizona, and Houston and was out of the NFL in 2014. While his draft position wasn’t so costly that it made him a major bust, his career left much to be desired.

Photo Credit: Bleacher Report

7. Tye Hill – CB, St. Louis Rams & Three Other Teams:

Hill had a stellar collegiate career with NCAA powerhouse Clemson. After running a 4.3-second 40 at the 2006 combine, the Rams took him with the lofty 15th pick overall. His career actually started in impressive fashion, as he appeared well on his way to becoming the shutdown corner many envisioned he was. He was even voted the Rams’ Rookie of the Year in 2006.

Photo Credit: Rubbing the Rock

However, his 2007 and 2008 seasons were marred by injury. He then bounced around the league with the Falcons, Titans, and Lions before flaming out of the league. Like many speedsters on this list, injuries sapped him of his speed. We never really knew how good Hill could have been.

Photo Credit: Sporting News

6. Jacoby Ford – WR, Oakland Raiders:

Ford was another Clemson product who was so blazing fast that he ran track in addition to playing on their football team. He tallied a smoking 4.29 40 time in 2010 and was drafted by who else, the Oakland Raiders. Ford promptly became an all-purpose threat for the team, scoring seven total touchdowns in his first year.

Photo Credit: Chat Sports

He injured his ankle in 2011 and was forced to sit out the 2012 season. He returned but made only 13 catches in 2013 before his NFL career came to an abrupt end.

Photo Credit: Chicago Tribune

5. Josh Robinson – CB, Minnesota Vikings/Buccaneers/Saints:

Robinson made a splash at the 2012 combine after a solid career at Central Florida. He ran a 4.29-second 40, ranking him among the top 20 of all-time. The Vikings liked it enough to draft him in the third round of that year’s draft.

Photo Credit: Lindsey Young

Like many super-fast straight-line runners on this list, however, it just didn’t translate into success on the field. He spent multiple seasons falling down the Vikings’ depth chart until moving on to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2015. He was last seen signing with the New Orleans Saints in 2018 and is currently a free agent.

Photo Credit: The Falcoholic

4. DeMarcus Van Dyke – CB, Oakland Raiders/Pittsburgh Steelers/Four Other Teams:

Van Dyke turned heads when he ran a 4.28 40 at the 2011 Combine, which was the fourth-fastest record time ever at the time. True to form, the Raiders drafted him to shore up their defensive secondary. When new management came for the chaotic franchise in 2012, Van Dyke was cut.

Photo Credit: State of The U

He moved on to the Pittsburgh Steelers and then four other teams until he was out of the NFL in 2016. It’s safe to say the speedy Van Dyke was little more than a combine superstar, making him a clear bust in terms of real football.

Photo Credit: Pioneer Press

3. Jalen Myrick – CB, Jacksonville Jaguars:

Myrick was most likely headed to undrafted free agent status following his collegiate career at the University of Minnesota. Then, he blazed a 4.28 second 40 in 2017 and was drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars that year.

Photo Credit: Pioneer Press

There’s not much else to say other than he was another super-fast player who couldn’t put the total package together on the field. He washed out in Jacksonville and resurfaced on the Viking’s practice squad, but his NFL career is close to over.

Photo Credit: Bleacher Report

2. J.J Nelson – WR, Arizona Cardinals/Oakland Raiders:

Nelson came blazing into the league with a 4.28-second 40 in 2015. The Arizona Cardinals took him in the fourth round. He actually showed some promise as a deep threat playing with quarterback Carson Palmer under aggressively minded coach Bruce Arians.

Photo Credit: AP News

Then Steve Wilks and Josh Rosen came to town in 2018. Nelson had a horrific seven catches for 64 yards in 2018 as Rosen appeared lost behind one of the worst offensive lines in football. Wilks’ hapless play calling didn’t help matters either. Nelson was signed by the Oakland Raiders (of course he was) before the 2019 season. He can potentially turn things around under Jon Gruden, but he’s teetering on bust status as of now.

Photo Credit: Bleacher Report

1. Jerome Mathis – WR, Houston Texans:

Like the aforementioned Matt Jones, Mathis blew the doors off the 2005 combine by running a 40 in 4.26 seconds. He showed a ton of talent and potential as a kick returner early in his career. After being drafted in the fourth round by Houston, he even made the Pro Bowl his rookie season.

Photo Credit: Bleacher Report

But injuries began to sap him of his speed. In a terrible turn of events, Mathis fractured his foot in that Pro Bowl. He was then relegated to injured reserve for the duration of the next two seasons. He was then signed by Washington before the 2008 season but waived that May. Mathis never got the chance to show live up to his potential in the NFL.

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