NFL Analysis


7 min read

Predicting 2024 NFL Combine's Fastest Players

Texas wide receiver Xavier Worthy breaks a tackle
Texas Longhorns wide receiver Xavier Worthy (1) runs the ball down the sideline during the Big 12 Championship game against the Oklahoma State Cowboys at AT&T stadium on Saturday, Dec. 2, 2023 in Arlington.

There's so much going on at the NFL Combine. Interviews, medical exams, athletic drills galore — almost everything you could want to know about a player, the NFL will find it out at the combine. 

Let's be honest, though. The 40-yard dash is what we all want to see. There's a very simple part of all of our brains that lights up when we see someone run faster than everyone else. It's thrilling in and of itself but also opens up the stream of possibilities more than any other test. 

"Imagine if Player X could fix Y and Z with that speed" is the kind of bargaining we will do with these players who put up blazing 40-yard dash times. In reality, it's not the most significant drill for predicting future success. Every position has a different drill of emphasis. But there is something universal about speed; everyone wants their team to be fast. 

With that in mind, let's look at a handful of names with a shot to put up the fastest 40-time in Indy. 

>> READ MORE: Latest Three-Round Mock Draft

Predicting 2024 NFL Combine Times

Xavier Worthy, WR, Texas

Prediction: 4.29

Xavier Worthy feels like the favorite to run the fastest 40-yard dash in Indy, and it's not hard to see why. 

When you turn on Worthy's film, the speed is evident. He erupts out of his stance with instant juice and only continues to fly from there. 

Texas made it a point to get the most out of Worthy's speed with how they used him, too. He ran vertical routes on the regular and was a consistent weapon in the screen and jet sweep game. Texas coach Steve Sarkisian was all about leaning into Worthy's speed as a game-changing trait at all levels of the field. 

Like many other skill players and defensive backs, Worthy ran track in high school. As a sophomore, he notched a personal best of 10.55 seconds in the 100-meter dash. It's easy to talk yourself into Worthy having even more speed now, five years later. 

North Carolina wide receiver Devontez Walker
North Carolina Tar Heels wide receiver Devontez Walker (9) catches a ball near Clemson Tigers cornerback Nate Wiggins (2) during the first quarter at Memorial Stadium. (Ken Ruinard-USA TODAY Sports)

North Carolina Tar Heels logo DevonTez Walker, WR, UNC

Prediction: 4.38

Speed alone might get Devontez Walker drafted in the first round. 

The rest of Walker's profile isn't all that impressive. At this stage, he's not a savvy route-runner nor a physically dominant presence. His ball skills and vision with the ball in his hands are nothing special, either. 

Walker's pure speed is outrageous, though. Most of his best moments are when he runs a nine route — the closest thing you'll get to a 40-yard dash in real pads. Walker doesn't strain at all to accelerate, and his top speed was as terrifying as anyone in college football. 

He also needs to fly in the 40-yard dash. Speed is his calling card, and he needs to validate that with a good time. It's fair to assume Walker is putting in a lot of work to ensure that will happen. 

South Carolina WR Xavier Worthy runs with the ball vs. North Carolina
South Carolina Gamecocks wide receiver Xavier Legette (17) runs for yards after catch defended by North Carolina Tar Heels defensive back Don Chapman (2) during the second half at Bank of America Stadium. (Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports)

Xavier Legette, WR, South Carolina

Prediction: 4.39

Xavier Legette's speed is different from everyone else on this list. 

Without the ball in his hands, Legette's speed is good-not-great. It can take him a beat to get rolling out of his stance, and he seems like more of a mid-4.4 seconds guy when he's striding out. 

When Legette has the ball, he becomes a different player. Legette's sudden burst upon transitioning from receiver to ball carrier is frightening, and he seems a more natural runner when he's got the ball in his hands. There's a sort of "running back playing receiver" element to his game. 

It's hard to gauge precisely how that will show up in the 40-yard dash. The speed is there, but it's not always unlocked. Perhaps some quality training will get Legette to unlock all that speed and absolutely take off in the 40-yard dash. 

Louisville RB Isaac Guerendo runs away from Virignia defenders.
Louisville’s Isaac Guerendo ran for a touchdown against Virginia in L & N Stadium on Nov. 9, 2023.

Isaac Guerendo, RB, Louisville

Prediction: 4.34

There aren't a ton of running backs who could crack into the 4.3s this year, but Isaac Guerendo probably has the best shot. 

Guerendo, like most others on this list, was a track phenom in high school. He topped out at 10.51 seconds in the 100-meter dash, one of the best times for anyone attending the combine. He even won a long jump title as a high school junior, which goes to show just how explosive he is. 

Getting that speed to translate on the field has been a bit of a struggle for Guerendo, though. A wide receiver recruit out of high school, Guerendo transitioned to running back while at his first school, Wisconsin. 

He never cracked the main lineup, mainly thanks to Braelon Allen, and eventually left for Louisville, where he split time with fellow 2024 draft candidate Jawhar Jordan. 

With that in mind, this is the perfect chance for Guerendo to show off his best trait. 

Michigan Wolverines wide receiver Roman Wilson (1) celebrates after he makes a reception in the second half against the Purdue Boilermakers.
Michigan Wolverines wide receiver Roman Wilson (1) celebrates after he makes a reception in the second half against the Purdue Boilermakers at Michigan Stadium. (Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports)

Roman Wilson, WR, Michigan

Prediction: 4.31

If you just watched Roman Wilson's film at Michigan, you wouldn't see many opportunities for him to show off his speed. 

Wilson was primarily used in the short to intermediate game at Michigan. The Wolverines used him more as a reliable yards-getter than an explosive weapon. 

In the few instances when Michigan let Wilson loose, his speed is easy to see. There are a handful of post and seam routes on his film where he torches the man across from him with relative ease. Part of that is also Wilson's nifty route-running skills, but he has the raw speed to run away from people. 

Wilson's speed is already well-documented, too. As a high school recruit, he won the Fastest Man Race at Nike's The Opening event, clocking in at a blazing 4.37 seconds. There's a good shot Wilson is even faster now that he's been in a Big Ten training program and is closer to his athletic peak. 

Oregon State Beavers wide receiver Anthony Gould (2) catches a pass during the second half against Oregon Ducks defensive back Evan Williams (33) at Autzen Stadium. (Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports)

Anthony Gould, WR, Oregon State

Prediction: 4.30

Every year, an undersized fringe Day 3 prospect goes ballistic on the 40-yard dash. Oregon State's Anthony Gould can be that guy in 2024. 

At 5-foot-8, 172 pounds, Gould is about as small as it gets by NFL standards. There aren't many players shorter or lighter than that in the modern game. While that might hurt his NFL future, it will help him sprint to a blazing 40-yard dash. 

Gloud is already a certified speedster, as well. According to Tracking Football, Gould's 10.49 100-meter dash from high school is the second-fastest mark by any player attending this year's combine. 

Gould was also a punt returner at Oregon State. Not only did the Beavers deem him fast enough for the job, but Gould notched two return touchdowns in 2022, including an 80-yarder. 

Texas Tech Safety Tyler Owens celebrates with teammates
Texas Tech defensive back Tyler Owens (18) celebrates recovering a turnover against the Mississippi Rebels in the second half in the 2022 Texas Bowl at NRG Stadium. (Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports)

Tyler Owens, S, Texas Tech

Prediction: 4.29

Speaking of the fastest 100-meter dash times among this year's combine attendees, enter Tyler Owens. 

Owens notched a ridiculous 10.29-second 100-meter dash back in high school, a good two-tenths of a second faster than Gould in second place. There's no denying Owens has elite top speed. 

Additionally, Owens was a five-star athlete out of high school. That's not directly correlated to better 40-yard dash times, but five-star recruits are typically outrageous athletes across the board. That seems to apply to Owens. 

Owens' speed shows up on film, too. There are times when his technique and awareness make him play slower than he is, but when he gets to stride out and cover ground, there's no denying who the fastest man on the field is.