The NFL’s pre-draft process, especially the Combine, is a unique opportunity for the nation’s top college athletes to show their abilities. NFL scouts watch on as coaches put the best players from the previous collegiate season through a rigorous series of tests. The 40-yard dash is often the most-watched test of all. A great performance can provide a boost to an outsider’s stock and the fastest players often see meteoric rises in stocks.
Today, we’ll look at the fastest 40-yard dash times at the Combine. The classic 40-yard dash tests the players’ speed in a straight line. Of course, this doesn’t translate perfectly to football, but it’s still a decent indicator of at least a player’s speed. Check out the best displays here via Sporting News.
30. Chris Olave – 4.39
Olave is already a collegiate legend because he holds the record for the most receptions in Buckeyes’ program history. The wideout is a phenomenal athlete as he proved at the NFL combine. He was one of 31 players to post sub-4.40 40-yard dash times (via USA Today).
Analysts predict that the Ohio star will be a top-20 draft pick. Some people think that he’ll be a good fit for the Cardinals because they need a receiver. Also, the Packers traded Davante Adams away so they are needy too. Olave appears to have the world waiting for him. His stellar 40-yard dash time only added to that.
Most people see Elam as a late first-rounder or as a second-round steal because of his high ceiling. Anyway, the Gators’ cornerback is an incredibly fast athlete. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.39 seconds at the NFL combine. Scouts appreciate his aggression and defensive stickiness.
Furthermore, there is a belief that he can be an NFL starter. This depends on where he finds himself because some teams have a greater need than others (via SBNation). His experience against SEC wide receivers will stand him in good stead before the step up to the NFL.
Armour-Davis was another player who impressed at the combine. His rapid 40-yard dash time shouldn’t be a surprise. That’s because the cornerback was a former 100m state champion. The Crimson Tide star wasn’t his team’s biggest name but rose in prominence recently.
His efforts at the NFL combine helped to increase his profile. Speed, especially in the 40-yard dash, isn’t enough to survive in the NFL but Armour-Davis has more in his locker. He has exceptional footwork and is also very disciplined. USA Today said that he’s likely to become a Day Three pick.
Mathis was a breakout star in Pittsburgh in 2022. The cornerback also impressed scouts at the NFL combine with his impressive dash. He isn’t the biggest player in the draft but he’s very effective. Since 2019, the Pittsburgh star only allowed a 37% pass completion rate against him.
Despite the lack of quarterback talent in this draft, there is a lot of depth in the other positions. This is clear at cornerback because there are some outstanding players. Mathis expects to be one of the first 100 selected players but only time will tell (via Sports Illustrated).
Eight players set a 40-yard dash time of 4.38 seconds. This Nebraska cornerback was one of them. The Husker star was excellent at the NFL combine because of his fast 40-yard dash time. He is also an interesting draft prospect because nobody is sure where he’ll land.
Taylor-Britt is an extraordinarily physical athlete and loves contact. While this may not be sustainable in the long term, he’s no shrinking violet. However, his open-field tackling may not be the best. Nonetheless, he’s a fascinating player with big dreams (via Bleacher Report).
Wilson and his teammate Chris Olave are two of the most exciting receivers in the 2022 draft. They have almost created a problem for NFL franchises because it’s difficult to choose between the two men. They’re both incredibly talented with a lot to offer.
Part of that is their incredibly fast 40-yard dash timing. Some believe that Olave is better before the ball but Wilson is better at catching it. There isn’t much between these two stars on paper. The Philadelphia Eagles retain an interest in the former three-star recruit. But at this point, their first-round selections may not be high enough to draft him. His development exceeded expectations in college (via ESPN).
No FIU running back has ever earned an NFL draft selection in history. However, Price plans to change this in 2022 after an excellent couple of seasons with the Panthers. That’s why he received an invitation to the NFL combine. He didn’t disappoint with his 40-yard dash time either.
Price has an amazing pace over long distances. One of the highlights of his college career was a 70-yard score against Arkansas. Nonetheless, there are areas of his game that he must improve in the future. He will likely be a third-round pick because of this (via Pro Football Network).
Walker admitted that he didn’t expect to post a 40-yard dash of 4.38. That’s what he told assembled media after posting the joint third-highest running back time (via State News). The Walter Camp winner is a projected second-round pick with a big future ahead of him.
The East Lansing native was a big star for the Michigan Spartans. He rose to prominence after his famous snow angel celebration. But there is much more to him than this or even just his 40-yard dash time. He’s a phenomenal athlete with a very high ceiling. That’s also why he opted out of the Peach Bowl and went to the NFL Combine.
Chandler also set an impressive time at the NFL Combine. However, the UNC running back has clear deficiencies in some areas of his game. That’s why he’s expected to fall to the seventh round of the draft. There’s even a chance that he’ll pass undrafted and sign with a team as a free agent.
After a couple of seasons with Tennessee, Chandler transferred to UNC (via Knox News). He has potential but never set the world on fire with his first team. He’ll probably become a backup running back for an NFL team. Only time will tell if he goes on to become more than that.
Hill’s freak athleticism and skills make him one of the most exciting safeties in the 2022 Draft. He also possesses an electrifying pace as fans saw at the NFL Combine. The Michigan star is one of the fastest safeties available and has a solid 40-yard dash time. His youth and physical gifts make him a projected first-round pick.
The likes of the Ravens and the Chiefs maintain strong links to the Wolverine. Baltimore is a good potential fit for him because they’re short in the safety position. DeShon Elliot is finished so now it’s time to look toward the future. It appears as though that could be Hill (via SBNation).
This Penn State cornerback set a superb 40-yard dash time at the NFL Combine. After a slow start to life with the Nittany Lions, he broke out in his sophomore year. Castro-Fields presents outstanding discipline and is excellent at hassling receivers. Meanwhile, his length and strength are massive assets.
Likely, he didn’t expect to set a 40-yard dash time of 4.38 seconds but it was impressive regardless. However, Castro-Fields experienced injuries last season. That’s why it’s expected that he’ll fall into the third round. There remains a chance he’ll be a late second-day pick (via XTB).
Some people scoff at Durant’s size but this is a mistake. The SCS star was impressive against tough college teams like Clemson and refuses to allow his short stature to define him. He possesses lightning speed as he proved at the NFL Combine with his 40-yard dash time of 4.38 seconds (via S.C. Now).
This is one of his greatest assets because he’s great at maintaining coverage. With 12 interceptions to his name, Durant is an effective player. The defensive back played for a smaller program but this helped him to stand up. He’s very much a developmental prospect but with a lot to offer.
Pacheco was a high school quarterback before he evolved into a college running back. While it took some time to adapt to his new position, Rutgers has reaped the rewards. That’s because he was impressive for the Scarlet Knights and earned an invitation to the NFL Combine.
A 40-yard dash time of 4.37 seconds is nothing to sneer at. Pacheco is a fast player with heavy links to the Denver Broncos. He will likely be a late draft pick or even miss selection. But after working out in Denver, he will probably fight for a place on their roster (via 247 Sports).
Many think Cine will be a high selection. The Bulldogs star is on the national radar after helping his team to a Championship win. Meanwhile, his displays at the NFL Combine stand him in good stead. His fast 40-yard dash time of 4.37 is up there with the best at his position.
The safety’s frame is one of his main strengths. In short, he’s a beast with very few discernable weaknesses. Many college players have phenomenal physiques but don’t have the football IQ to succeed in the NFL. It appears that Cine has the latter in spades (via Gamehaus).
It feels like a different era when Mike Ditka traded all of the Saints’ draft picks for a running back. These days nobody bats an eyelid at them until the second or third round unless somebody is truly exceptional. That’s why Strong will probably slip to the fourth day despite being a great athlete.
The Jackrabbit had a great time at the NFL Combine. He posted the joint-fasted running back 40-yard dash time of 4.37 seconds alongside Isiah Pacheco. After three 1,000-yard seasons, it appears as though he’s ready for the step up to the pro game. He’s flying under the radar, but this is a mistake (via USA Today).
Barno can run very fast in a straight line. He achieved the fastest 40-yard dash time for a defensive linesman since 2003. That’s not bad for a six-foot-six behemoth with a weight of 245 pounds. Of course, this isn’t a guarantee that he’ll be a success in the NFL but is a great asset.
The Virginia Tech star has a gigantic wingspan. However, despite his size, he lacks bulk. This is a concern for NFL scouts ahead of the draft and it will affect his prospects. If he fills out, he will become a force to reckon with. But he needs another 10 pounds at least (via NBC Sports).
Taylor is the second Tennessee star to break the top 30. The cornerback also had an impressive time at the NFL Combine as he ran the 40-yard dash in only 4.36 seconds. A former four-star recruit, Taylor was exceptional in 2021. This came after he transitioned from wide receiver in 2021.
He also goes about the business in the right way. Taylor had a video room at his girlfriend’s house where he watched tapes of upcoming opponents. Meanwhile, he cites the importance of a high football IQ and patience (via The Draft Network). In sum, he’s an impressive young player.
There are a lot of safeties in the 2022 draft. Anderson may have passed a lot of people. But the Toledo Rockets’ star is a decent player with a lot of speed in his pocket. NFL fans saw his efforts at the combine as he set a 40-yard dash time of 4.36 seconds (via Toledo Blade).
He will likely end up playing on special teams but there’s no shame in that. He may be a Day Three pick or go undrafted. However, an NFL franchise will pick him up one way or another. Anderson doesn’t have the biggest profile but he’s still a great prospect.
These days safeties have an increasingly difficult job. It requires more versatility and dynamism than before because they have playmaking duties. Woods is a good example of the evolution of the position. His combine 40-yard dash time showed that he is frighteningly quick.
While his frame may turn off some potential suitors, the Baylor star is a top athlete. He received a late invitation to the Combine but this bodes well for him. It proves that teams are interested. Furthermore, he didn’t do his stock any harm because it is soaring now (via Pro Football Network).
The Cajuns’ defensive back is a true speedster. He also carries a lot of stock into the 2022 draft. Several analysts predict that he’s capable of starting for some NFL franchises. His lean frame has its doubters, but the former Louisiana safety is clearly on the rise (via CBS Sports).
Furthermore, his 4.36 second 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine was eye-catching. There were only two members of the Ragin’ Cajuns at the Combine but Butler gave his chances a boost. His abilities with special teams are clear to see. That’s why he’s optimistic about a draft selection.
This North Dakota State Bison star was one of the fastest wide receivers at the NFL combine. One of the most startling aspects of his physique is his height. Watson is quite tall for a wideout but he uses this to enhance his game. Meanwhile, his lightning speed and football IQ have generated a lot of hype.
There is a strong chance that the North Dakota athlete will go in the first round of the draft. Some project that the Tennessee Titans will gamble on him. His vertical threat is eye-catching and that will lure several teams to the table. Watson has all of the trademarks of a future NFL starter (via Inforum).
Melton posted the fourth fastest running time at the NFL combine. The former Scarlet Knights’ receiver had a super-fast 40-yard dash time of 4.34 seconds. Melton impressed many people this season with his productivity for Rutgers. His senior year saw him hit 66 passes for 618 yards and three touchdowns.
A team will likely pick him on Day Three but he may go earlier (97.3 ESPN). As well as the 40-yard dash, Melton was slick on the three-cone drill. He possesses soft hands and has the makings of a future NFL star. Now it’s up to a team to take a chance.
Cross had an excellent day at the NFL Combine. The former Maryland athlete was the fastest safety on the board with a 40-yard dash time of 4.34 seconds. Meanwhile, his jumps were also in the top five for players in his position. After a strong season with the Terrapins, Cross did everything he could to impress.
He posted better Combine stats than some potential first-rounders. There’s a growing belief that this could push his prospects up to the second round. Cross has three interceptions and four forced fumbles for Maryland in 2021. Next, he plans to succeed in the NFL (via Baltimore Sun).
Gray improved his draft prospects with a fantastic showing at the NFL Combine. The former SMU receiver was one of the fastest athletes in the 40-yard dash. Furthermore, he recorded a 34-inch vertical leap. After a productive year for his school, he plans to light up the pro game (via USA Today).
Several teams, including the 49ers, invited Gray to work out at their facilities. The Colts also brought the wideout to train with them. The signs point that he may come off the board earlier than analysts predicted earlier. He has also earned favorable comparisons to Antonio Brown – on the field.
McCollum was the third-fastest cornerback at the NFL Combine with a rapid 40-yard dash time of 4.33 seconds. The former Sam Houston star may become a draft steal. FCS schools don’t receive the same attention but scouts kept an eye on McCollum for a reason (via TWSN).
His speed is scintillating but there is far more to his game. His aggressiveness and competitiveness are also something to behold. The Raiders are one team keeping a close eye on his draft status. McCollum is a young man with a very bright future.
The Kansas City Chiefs and Buffalo are two big-name franchises with heavy links to this dynamic receiver. As more teams focus on a passing game, they are favoring wideouts with Austin’s characteristics. It also helps that he was one of the fastest athletes in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine.
Austin is fluctuating between Day Two and Day Three on most mock draft boards. But he’s one of the best receivers in his class so there is the hope of success for the young man. That’s why two of the strongest teams of the past five years maintain heavy links to him (via Commercial Appeal).
Jones was one of the oldest players at the NFL Combine. If he makes it through the NFL Draft it will be a vindication of his long road to the top. At 25 years old, he’s not exactly a young player anymore. But Jones never gave up on his dream and performed well for Tennessee.
The returns specialist hopes to link up with a former coach at the New Orleans Saints. Meanwhile, his stock increased after a series of excellent showings at the Combine. His 40-yard-dash time was particularly impressive. After playing for Alabama and SCU, he finally broke out as a Volunteer (via Pro Football Network).
Only three athletes achieved a sub-4.30 40-yard dash time at the NFL Combine. Thornton was the third-fastest player on the entire board after his fantastic time. The Baylor wideout is scarily fast and many people believe that he’s a sleeper in the draft. His positional sense is also excellent.
However, his frame is very thin and his small hands don’t help matters either. This may dissuade some NFL suitors because they’ll worry about his physicality. He also struggled with injuries at points in college. Thornton has a lot to prove but there’s no doubting his elite speed (via NBC Sports).
Woolen was the second-fastest player in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine. He appropriately played college football with the Roadrunners. The former UTSA man has the potential to become an early NFL starter. But a lot of things will have to fall into place for the cornerback first.
The Buccaneers and the Raiders are two franchises that are watching him closely. He will probably be a third-rounder because there are a lot of high-level cornerbacks in this draft. Meanwhile, Woolen possesses fantastic awareness as well as exceptional speed (via Bleacher Report).
Barnes is the proud holder of the fastest speed at the NFL Combine. Meanwhile, he also posted the second-best time in the history of the 40-yard dash. Unsurprisingly, several franchises sat up after his electrifying run. The Raiders, 49ers, and other teams have already met with the Baylor cornerback.
Furthermore, Barnes upset the apple cart with his performance. Several analysts projected that he was a late Day Three pick. But now there’s no certainty where he will land. He didn’t do his chances any harm after his outstanding dash. Now he must take the same energy to the NFL (via Waco Tribune-Herald).