We’ve all heard it before. Speed kills. You can’t teach speed. Speed is essential for certain athletes to have, especially specific positions in the game of football. So, who are the fastest players in the NFL?
Fastest Players in the NFL
I want to start out by saying we are talking about straight end sprinting speed here. We are not considering agility, change of direction, cutting ability, anything like that. Here are the top speeds reached by current NFL players:
Matt Breida, running back for the 49ers surprisingly edged out Tyreek Hill of the Chiefs for the title of fastest NFL player. His top speed of 22.3 mph came on an 83-yard touchdown run against the Browns in week 5 of the 2019 NFL season.
The interesting part about this list is that all five players are serious contributors to their teams. The top two players, Breida and Hill, were playing each other in Superbowl 55.
RBs and WRs
All five of the top five speedsters in the league are either running backs or wide receivers. This shouldn’t come as a surprise because being fast is one of the most important aspects of these two positions.
Christian McCaffrey, running back for the Panthers, recently changed up his workout routine to focus more on improving speed. This is coming in a league that is getting bigger and bigger and he opted to choose for speed over size and strength.
The five guys on this list have an average age of 25.6 years old, with only one being older than 26. The younger, newer players are clearly taking over the NFL in terms of speed.
If you extend the list to the sixth, it is yet another running back – Saquon Barkley of the New York Giants. Just like McCaffrey, Barkley focuses on speed and power workouts to improve his explosiveness and speed.
Kansas City breeds speed
Tyreek Hill isn’t the only one on his team that can run. Mecole Hardman reached a top speed of 21.87 mph, good enough for 7th on the year. Meanwhile, Sammy Watkins hit 21.33 mph which ranked as the 17th fastest player last year.
Of course, Patrick Mahomes is one of the best quarterbacks in the league but with three of the top twenty fastest players in the NFL on your offense, it’s no wonder that the Chiefs have had success.
The offense is electric. No one can seem to stay with these receivers and running backs. Just take the game changing play in the Superbowl as an example. Tyreek Hill outran the entire 49ers secondary to find a seam where Mahomes hit him in open space.
That sparked a comeback and a championship for the Chiefs in 2019 and it seems that they are one of the favorites to win again next season.