We have compiled a list of the fastest players in NFL history.
Speed is important in most sports – none more so than the NFL.
Who is the fastest NFL player in 2023?
Being the fastest NFL player doesn’t guarantee a successful career. Plenty of speedsters are cut from NFL rosters every year, and others are limited to special teams or backup duties.
Fastest Players In The NFL (2023)
- Devin Duvernay – 21.6 mph
- Travis Etienne – 21.62 mph
- Tyreek Hill – 21.66 mph
- Dalvin Cook – 21.68 mph
- Jaylen Waddle – 21.68 mph
- Christian Watson – 21.72 mph
- DeSean Jackson – 21.72 mph
- Breece Hall – 21.87 mph
- Kenneth Walker – 22.09 mph
- Parris Campbell – 22.11 mph
For others, though, pure pace is a huge part of what makes them effective. It can help wide receivers to get separation, and enable running backs to dart away from potential tackles.
On the other side of the ball, safeties, linebackers and corners can all benefit from a bit of pace. Here are the fastest NFL players since the start of the 2022 season, according to Next Gen Stats…
Devin Duvernay – 21.6 mph
Named a Pro Bowler in consecutive years for his kick returns, Devin Duvernay posted a top speed of 21.6 mph on a 103-yard kickoff return touchdown in Week 2 of the 2022 season.
Baltimore doesn’t use Duvernay in the passing game much, keeping him to 880 receiving yards through 47 career games, but he’s still putting his speed to good use.
The Ravens made Lamar Jackson one of the highest-paid NFL players during the offseason – will we see Duvernay show off his returning skills during the postseason?
Travis Etienne – 21.62 mph
After posting 1,125 rushing yards for the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2022, Travis Etienne will be looking to have a huge 2023.
The Jags are favoured to win their division, and have been tipped by some as a decent longshot pick to make the 2024 Super Bowl.
Etienne was selected 25th overall in 2022 after starring for Clemson in college. Alongside Trevor Lawrence, Calvin Ridley and others, the 24-year-old projects to play a key role in what should be an entertaining Jacksonville offence.
Tyreek Hill – 21.66 mph
NFL predictions always need to consider the impact of Tyreek Hill.
The Miami Dolphins wide receiver alters the shape of the field with his deep-threat ability, forcing opposing defensive coordinators to cover much more of the field.
Hill starred alongside Patrick Mahomes in Kansas City. Some wondered how effective he would be away from Andy Reid’s offence, but Hill has been spectacular in Florida, stretching defences and developing chemistry with Tua Tagovailoa.
A case can be made that Hill is the most impactful offensive non-QB in the league right now.
Dalvin Cook – 21.68 mph
Dalvin Cook’s 81-yard touchdown in 2022 was the longest rush of his career, and also posted a maximum speed of 21.68 mph, which is tied for the sixth-fastest since the start of the 2022 campaign.
Cook’s Week 10 score came against Buffalo. The 2022 season proved to be his last with the Vikings, after joining those Bills in free agency.
Perhaps Buffalo’s front office was lured in by Cook’s lung-busting touchdown in November of last season.
Jaylen Waddle – 21.68 mph
Jaylen Waddle just edges out teammate Tyreek Hill in this list by 0.02 miles per hour.
Waddle clocked 21.68 mph with an 84-yard receiving touchdown in Week 16, which was his last of eight endzone entries in the 2022 season.
Drafted sixth overall in 2021, Waddle seamlessly took to life in the NFL. Along with Hill, he is part of perhaps the league’s most fearsome wide receiver duo, and led the league with 18.1 receiving yards per reception in 2022.
Christian Watson – 21.72 mph
After being selected early in the second round of the 2022 Draft, Christian Watson made a name for himself as a rookie in Green Bay.
Watson’s 2023 campaign is highly anticipated, even after the Packers traded Aaron Rodgers in the offseason.
Despite starting only 11 games, Watson recorded nine total touchdowns, and a whopping 14.9 yards per reception.
There were some high-profile drops along the way, and some had concerns about Watson’s hands before the Draft, but Watson’s catch percentage was still high as a rookie, and he should be able to help Jordan Love in 2023.
DeSean Jackson – 21.72 mph
He might be in the second half of his thirties, but DeSean Jackson still has elite speed, as he exhibited with a 62-yard reception for the Baltimore Ravens in 2022.
A three-time Pro Bowler earlier in his career, Jackson has played for six NFL teams and is currently a free agent.
Jackson led the league in yards per reception on four occasions, and was on the Rams for their win in Super Bowl LVI.
Breece Hall – 21.87 mph
Breece Hall was one of the few bright spots for the New York Jets in 2022, averaging 5.8 yards per carry before suffering an ACL injury. Hall is back at full fitness for 2023, and looks ready for a big year after posting 147 total yards in Week 1.
Quickly into the top 10 in ball carrier speeds for the new season, there doesn’t seem to be any lingering effects from the injury.
The Jets might have seen their ceiling lower with Aaron Rodgers’ injury, but there’s still plenty of upside on this roster. Hall is going to be fun to watch for Gang Green and neutrals alike.
Kenneth Walker – 22.09 mph
Runner up in Offensive Rookie of the Year, Kenneth Walker clocked over 1,000 rushing yards last season, including the second-fastest ball carrier speed with his 74-yard rushing touchdown against the Chargers in Week 7.
Walker went on to score five more times for the Seahawks in 2022 in the regular season before scoring his maiden Playoff touchdown against the Niners.
Parris Campbell – 22.11 mph
Tune in to the NFL at Christmas in 2023 to see Parris Campbell’s New York Giants take on the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field.
Campbell clocked the fastest sprint speed of 2022 with a 26-yard rush for the Indianapolis Colts in Week 18.
A former second-round pick, Campbell signed with the Giants in March 2023 and was targeted four times for just two receiving yards in Week 1 of the 2023 campaign.
Fastest NFL Players Ever:
Athleticism is always an important sports betting factor.
It is reductive to boil the NFL down to pure speed and strength, but having one of the fastest players in the NFL keeps defences honest in a way that less explosive receivers cannot.
We have put together a list of 10 of the fastest players in NFL history. There’s a mix of past icons, active stars and players who only briefly dabbled in American football.
There’s a strong case for Bob Hayes as the fastest NFL player ever.
Just before his NFL career began in 1965, Hayes entered the 1964 summer Olympics in Tokyo. He not only won the men’s 100 metres, he did so with a world record time of just over 10 seconds.
A second gold followed in the relay. Hayes was part of a quartet which, once again, set a world record. The next year, he was on the Dallas Cowboys, who he remained with through to 1974 before spending time with the San Francisco 49ers in 1975.
Hayes’ career on the gridiron was every bit as impressive as his Olympic glory. A three-time Pro Bowler, the Cowboys star was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2009.
How many sportspeople can come close to Bo Jackson in sheer athleticism?
He was an impressive NFL player and made it to Major League Baseball. For good measure, Jackson posted a record 40-yard dash time at the NFL combine.
Standing at 6'1" and 227 lbs, Jackson was an unstoppable force on the football field. He played just four NFL seasons, however, scoring 16 touchdowns and averaging 5.4 yards per carry.
Jackson’s physical attributes went far beyond his electric speed, but his acceleration, paired with that size and strength, is what made him such a difficult player to tackle.
One of the stars of Patrick Mahomes’ Chiefs offence, Tyreek Hill is well deserving of his ‘Cheetah’ nickname.
The five-time Pro Bowler is the fastest active NFL player. The Chiefs use Hill in a variety of ways, but some of his greatest highlights are the simplest play in the game: the punt return.
Hill’s combination of acceleration and nimble footwork makes him a nightmare for even the best defensive backs.
Seventh all-time for rushing touchdowns as a quarterback, Michael Vick was the poster boy for dual-threat quarterbacks. He was every bit as dangerous running the ball as he was passing it.
Until Lamar Jackson, Vick was the only quarterback in history to rush for more than 1,000 yards in a season. He’s the all-time leader in QB rushing yards with over 6,000.
While he became a more accomplished pocket passer later in his career, Vick’s trademark was always his powerful running game.
Lamar Jackson owns the three top seasons for quarterback rushing attempts and two of the top three for rushing yards in a season.
The Baltimore Ravens QB earned MVP honours a couple of years ago and his exhilarating burst of speed was a key factor.
There are questions about Jackson’s all-round performance as a quarterback. His Ravens are yet to prove they deserve to be considered serious Super Bowl challengers in our NFL expert picks, but Jackson’s athleticism is without question.
Randy Moss is the gold standard for NFL wide receivers. One of the best offensive players ever, Moss’ performances are what so many British NFL players aspire to.
Moss owns an impressive catalogue of NFL records. His blistering speed made him an impossible player to defend at his peak – his 23 receiving touchdowns in a season is the most all-time.
Seeing as he never actually made it to an NFL game, this is a bit of a dodgy selection. John Capel was on the books of both the Chicago Bears and Kansas City Chiefs, however.
Capel tested positive for marijuana at the 2001 NFL combine, but was still selected by the Bears in the seventh round of the draft.
While he never broke through in the NFL, Capel’s speed is without doubt – he won gold in the men’s 200 metres at the 2003 World Championships and followed it with a gold in the 4 x 100 metre relay at the same event.
Raw speed tends to result in a position on offence. Darrell Green is probably the fastest defensive player in NFL history.
Green played for the Washington Redskins (now Washington Football Team) from 1983 until 2002, remaining an effective cornerback into his forties.
He aged like a fine wine with many of his peers recognising his longevity – he’s considered one of the greatest defensive backs of all-time.
Even some of the fastest receivers ever could get away from Green. He reportedly recorded a 4.09 40-yard dash time at Washington training camp in 1986.
Willie Gault was a Super Bowl champion with the Chicago Bears. He would likely have followed in Bob Hayes’ footsteps and picked up an Olympic gold on the relay team too if the USA team hadn’t boycotted the 1980 Olympics.
Also a hurdler, Gault played 11 NFL seasons for over 6,600 yards. He scored 45 touchdowns throughout his NFL career, including one kickoff return.
Yet another sprinter turned receiver, Ron Brown’s NFL career was unspectacular, but there’s no question he’s one of the fastest NFL players in history.
Brown won a gold in the 1984 Olympics, running the second leg in the relay. He finished fourth in the 100 metres in the same Olympics – he registered just 1,791 yards across his eight year career with the LA Rams and LA Raiders.
*Credit for the photos in this article belongs to AP Photo*