The NFL Combine is the next marquee NFL event of the offseason, and no Combine even is more important from a fan perspective than the 40-yard dash.
Last year, we saw the second-fastest laser 40 time ever recorded and watched a massive 341-pound offensive lineman hit 4.78. This year in Indianapolis, there will be a new batch of athletic freaks in the 2023 draft class hoping to bolster their stock with strong Combine performances.
As we continue previewing the NFL Combine, we look at the top 10 fastest 40-yard dashes of all time and list the fastest 40 run at every position.
Top 10 All-Time Fastest 40-Yard Dashes
1. John Ross, Washington WR — 4.22 seconds (2017)
2. Kalon Barnes, Baylor CB — 4.23 seconds (2022)
3. Chris Johnson, East Carolina RB — 4.24 seconds (2008)
4. Rondel Menendez, Eastern Kentucky WR — 4.24 seconds (1999)
5. Dri Archer, Kent State RB — 4.26 seconds (2014)
6. Tariq Woolen, UTSA CB — 4.26 seconds (2022)
7. Jerome Mathis, Hampton WR — 4.26 seconds (2005)
8. Marquise Goodwin, Oklahoma WR — 4.27 seconds (2013)
9. Stanford Routt, Houston CB — 4.27 seconds (2005)
10. Henry Ruggs III, Alabama WR — 4.27 seconds (2020)
As we see from this list above, the fastest 40-yard dash times typically come from wide receivers, running backs, and cornerbacks. There have only been 18 sub-4.2 second 40-yard dashes run at the NFL Combine since 1987, and only one of those has come from a player outside those three positions mentioned above (Ole Miss safety Zedrick Woods ran 4.29). Interestingly enough, two of those sub-4.2 second 40 times occurred last year and were achieved by teammates — Baylor cornerback Kalon Barnes (4.23) and wide receiver Tyquan Thornton (4.28).
Baylor CB Kalon Barnes officially ran a 4.23 in the 40-yard dash.
It's the second-fastest time in combine history and only 0.01 seconds short of John Ross' record.
— The Athletic (@TheAthletic) March 7, 2022
Fastest 40-Yard Dash at Every Position
Quarterback: Michael Vick, Virginia — 4.33 seconds (2001)
Running Back: Chris Johnson, East Carolina — 4.24 seconds (2008)
Wide Receiver: John Ross, Washington — 4.22 seconds (2017)
Tight End: Vernon Davis, Maryland — 4.38 seconds (2006)
Offensive Tackle: Terron Armstead, Arkansas Pine-Bluff — 4.71 seconds (2013)
Interior Offensive Lineman: Chris Chester, Oklahoma — 4.83 seconds (2006)
Defensive Tackle: Milton Williams, Louisiana Tech — 4.67 seconds (2021)
Edge Rusher: Amare Barno, Virginia Tech — 4.36 seconds (2022)
Linebacker: Shaquem Griffin, Central Florida — 4.38 seconds (2018)
Cornerback: Kalon Barnes, Baylor — 4.23 seconds (2022)
Safety: Zedrick Woods, Ole Miss — 4.29 seconds (2019)
Punter: Mitch Wishnowsky, Utah — 4.63 seconds (2019)
Kicker: Michael Badgley, Miami — 4.94 seconds (2018)
Looking at the all-time leader at every position, we see quarterback Michael Vick up top with a record that may never be broken. Lamar Jackson may have been able to approach or even surpass that number, but he elected not to participate in the drill.
Another number that stands out significantly is another 2022 performer, Amare Barno, who shattered Montez Sweat‘s 4.41-second mark for the position.
Will any players in the 2023 class be smashing records or breaking into the 4.2 range? Chris Johnson, who has owned the running back 40 record since 2008, certainly thinks so.