40-yard dash

The 40-yard dash is a sprint covering 40 yards (36.58 m). It is primarily run to evaluate the speed and acceleration of American football players by scouts, particularly for the NFL Draft but also for collegiate recruiting. A player's recorded time can have a heavy impact on his prospects in college or professional football. This was traditionally only true for the "skill" positions such as running back, wide receiver, and defensive back, although now a fast 40-yard dash time is considered important for almost every position. The 40-yard dash is not an official race in track and field athletics and is not an IAAF-recognized race.

The origin of timing football players for 40 yards comes from the average distance of a punt and the time it takes to reach that distance.[1] Punts average around 40 yards in distance from the line of scrimmage, and the hangtime (time of flight) averages approximately 4.5 seconds. Therefore, if a coach knows that a player runs 40 yards in 4.5 seconds, he will be able to leave the line of scrimmage when a punt is kicked, and reach the point where the ball comes down just as it arrives.

40-yard dash
Men's records
WorldUnited States Christian Coleman 4.12 (2017)
Women's records
WorldUnited States Christie Pearce 4.70

Timing method and track comparisons

In terms of judging a person's speed, the best method of timing is through lasers which start and stop the times when passed through. A laser start (from a stationary position) is more accurate for measuring pure speed as it does not register a runner's reaction time. However, the method of timing a 40-yard dash can affect the accuracy by as much as 0.5 seconds (with the manual stopwatch method). The National Football League (NFL) did not begin using partial electronic timing (started by hand, stopped electronically) at the NFL Scouting Combine until 1999.[2][3] For purposes of measurement at the Combine, the run is made along the lower sideline from the 40 yard-line to the end zone, which has built-in rundown space.

In track and field races, the runner must react to the starting gun, which takes approximately 0.24 seconds, based on FAT timing. A runner with a reaction time less than .100 is subject to disqualification as that is deemed too fast a reaction time. In contrast, for electronically timed 40-yard dashes, the runner is allowed to start when he wishes, and a timer hand-starts the clock. This aspect means that comparisons with track times are impossible given that a reaction time is not factored in. Furthermore, the use of hand-timing in the 40-yard dash can considerably alter a runner's time; the methods are not comparable to the rigorous electronic timing used in track and field.

Jacoby Ford, who ran a 4.28 s in the 2010 NFL Combine, had a collegiate best of 6.51 s in the 60-meter dash (outside the top-40 of the all-time lists).[4] This highlights the difficulties in comparing track running times to football 40-yard times due to the different timing methods.[4]


Bo Jackson claims to have run a 40-yard dash with a time of 4.13 s.[5][6] A time of 4.18 run by Jackson within the same week added some support to the legitimacy of the times.[7][8] Texas Tech's Jakeem Grant was hand-timed by a New Orleans Saints scout as running a 4.10 in 2016, potentially beating Jackson's record.[9] In the early 1980s, Baylor's Gerald McNeil ran a 4.19-second 40-yard dash before being signed to the United States Football League (USFL).[10] Deion Sanders ran a 4.27-second 40-yard dash in 1989.[11]

In 2013, Carlin Isles recorded a time of 4.22 at a Detroit Lions facility during a workout.[12]

In 2017 Olympic sprinter Christian Coleman ran a time of 4.12 seconds on turf in response to claims that NFL players are as fast as Usain Bolt.[13]

Usain Bolt ran a 4.22 in running shoes and a tracksuit at a promotional event for the Superbowl in Atlanta, Georgia on February 2, 2019.[14]

Records at the NFL Scouting Combine

This is a list of the official 40-yard dash results of 4.30 seconds or better recorded at the NFL Scouting combine since 1999, the first year electronic timing was implemented at the NFL Scouting Combine.[15][16]

Time Name Height Weight Position College Year Draft R
4.22 John Ross 5 ft 11 in (180 cm) 190 lb (86 kg) Wide receiver Washington 2017 No. 9 overall by Cincinnati Bengals [17]
4.24 Rondel Menendez 5 ft 9 in (175 cm) 192 lb (87 kg) Wide receiver Eastern Kentucky 1999 No. 247 overall by Atlanta Falcons
Chris Johnson 5 ft 11 in (180 cm) 192 lb (87 kg) Running back East Carolina 2008 No. 24 overall by Tennessee Titans
4.26 Jerome Mathis 5 ft 11 in (180 cm) 184 lb (83 kg) Wide receiver Hampton 2005 No. 114 overall by Houston Texans
Dri Archer 5 ft 8 in (173 cm) 173 lb (78 kg) Running back Kent State 2014 No. 97 overall by Pittsburgh Steelers
4.27 Stanford Routt 6 ft 2 in (188 cm) 193 lb (88 kg) Cornerback Houston 2005 No. 38 overall by Oakland Raiders
Marquise Goodwin 5 ft 10 in (178 cm) 181 lb (82 kg) Wide receiver Texas 2013 No. 78 overall by Buffalo Bills
4.28 Champ Bailey 6 ft 0 in (183 cm) 192 lb (87 kg) Cornerback Georgia 1999 No. 7 overall by Washington Redskins
Jacoby Ford 5 ft 9 in (175 cm) 190 lb (86 kg) Wide receiver Clemson 2010 No. 108 overall by Oakland Raiders
Jalen Myrick 5 ft 10 in (178 cm) 200 lb (91 kg) Cornerback Minnesota 2017 No. 222 overall by Jacksonville Jaguars [18]
J. J. Nelson 5 ft 10 in (178 cm) 156 lb (71 kg) Wide receiver UAB 2015 No. 159 overall by Arizona Cardinals [19]
DeMarcus Van Dyke 6 ft 1 in (185 cm) 187 lb (85 kg) Cornerback Miami 2011 No. 81 overall by Oakland Raiders
4.29 Fabian Washington 5 ft 11 in (180 cm) 188 lb (85 kg) Cornerback Nebraska 2005 No. 23 overall by Oakland Raiders
4.30 Darrent Williams 5 ft 9 in (175 cm) 176 lb (80 kg) Cornerback Oklahoma State 2005 No. 56 overall by Denver Broncos
Tye Hill 5 ft 10 in (178 cm) 185 lb (84 kg) Cornerback Clemson 2006 No. 15 overall by St. Louis Rams
Yamon Figurs 5 ft 11 in (180 cm) 174 lb (79 kg) Wide receiver Kansas State 2007 No. 74 overall by Baltimore Ravens
Darrius Heyward-Bey 6 ft 2 in (188 cm) 210 lb (95 kg) Wide receiver Maryland 2009 No. 7 overall by Oakland Raiders [20]

Average time by position

According to a five-year NFL combine report, wide receivers and cornerbacks had the fastest average times at 4.48, followed by running backs at 4.49. The following average times were measured between 2000 and 2012 at the NFL combine for players who played at least 5 games.[21]

Position Time
Wide receiver 4.48
Cornerback 4.48
Running back 4.49
Free safety 4.53
Strong safety 4.55
Outside linebacker 4.65
Tight end 4.70
Inside linebacker 4.76
Fullback 4.80
Defensive end 4.80
Quarterback 4.93
Defensive tackle 5.06
Center 5.30
Offensive tackle 5.32
Offensive guard 5.36


  1. ^ MacCambridge, Michael (2005). America's Game: The Epic Story of How Pro Football Captured a Nation (1st ed.). New York: Anchor Books. p. 29. ISBN 978-0-375-72506-7. Intent on building a fast team, [Paul Brown in the mid-1940s] began timing players in the 40-yard dash, rather than the 100, reasoning that the 40 was a more meaningful measure of true football speed, about the distance a player would cover on a punt.
  2. ^ "isbn:0345545141 - Google Search". books.google.com.
  3. ^ Davenport, Gary. "How Are 40-Yard Dash Times Recorded?". bleacherreport.com.
  4. ^ a b 60 Metres - men - senior - indoor. IAAF. Retrieved on May 29, 2013.
  5. ^ Rothstein, Matthew (February 29, 2016). "Bo Jackson Talking About His 4.13 40-Yard-Dash Is A Reminder Of How Superhuman He Was". Uproxx.com.
  6. ^ Tanier, Mike (July 16, 2015). "NFL Urban Legends: Bo Jackson and the Too-Fast-to-Be-True 40-Yard Dash". BleacherReport.com.
  7. ^ Based on Cooney, Frank (23 February 2008). "Combine 40-yard times -- Nothing is official". The Sports Xchange. Archived from the original on 19 August 2009. Retrieved 3 March 2010., plus updates.
  8. ^ Cooney, Frank (February 24, 2008). "With 40-yard dash times, nothing's quite 'official'". USA Today.
  9. ^ Haislop, Tadd (March 11, 2016). "Texas Tech's Jakeem Grant clocked at 4.10 in 40-yard dash". SportingNews. Retrieved March 12, 2016.
  10. ^ Argovitz, Jerry; Miller, J. David (2013). "Chapter 40: A Better Mousetrap". Super Agent: The One Book the NFL and NCAA Don't Want You to Read. New York: Sports Publishing. ISBN 978-1613210680.
  11. ^ Hessler, Warner (April 23, 1989). "NFL General Managers Moan About Another Diluted Draft". Daily Press. Retrieved March 1, 2012.
  12. ^ "Detroit Lions sign rugby player Carlin Isles to practice squad". Daily News. New York. December 26, 2013.
  13. ^ "Olympic sprinter shows up John Ross". USA Today. Retrieved July 26, 2017.
  14. ^ Clark, Nate (2 February 2019). "Usain Bolt having fun at Super Bowl, 'ties' NFL Combine 40-yard dash record". NBC. Retrieved 2 February 2019.
  15. ^ "Top Performers 2006-2011". July 16, 2011.
  16. ^ Cooney, Frank (March 1, 2011). "Officially, Van Dyke is combine's fastest player". USA Today.
  17. ^ "John Ross III runs 40-yard dash in record 4.22 seconds at NFL Combine". Sportsnet. March 4, 2017. Retrieved March 4, 2017.
  18. ^ "Jalen Myrick Combine Profile". NFL.com. Retrieved March 6, 2017.
  19. ^ "NFL on Twitter". Twitter. February 21, 2015. Retrieved February 21, 2015.
  20. ^ "Darrius Heyward-Bey - WR - Maryland - 2009 NFL Combine Results". NFL Combine Results.
  21. ^ Topher Doll (February 12, 2013). "Some Clarification is in Order: Average Speed by Position". MileHighReport.com. Archived from the original on November 11, 2018. Retrieved November 11, 2018.
20-yard shuttle

The 20-yard shuttle, also simply called the short shuttle, is a test performed by American football athletes at the NFL combine. It is primarily run to evaluate the quickness and change-of-direction ability of players by scouts, particularly for the NFL Draft but also for collegiate recruiting. Although not as highly regarded a test as the 40-yard dash, it is still an important barometer used by NFL personnel to compare players. Canadian football also uses the shuttle test.

60-yard dash

The 60-yard dash is a sprint covering 60 yards (54.86 m). It is primarily run to evaluate the speed and acceleration of American Major League Baseball players. It is also often used to evaluate the speed of American Football (especially NFL) players (although the 40-yard dash is much more common in Football).

Aaron Brown (defensive lineman)

Aaron Lewis Brown, Jr. (November 16, 1943 – November 15, 1997) was an American football defensive lineman born in Port Arthur, Texas. Brown played for the Kansas City Chiefs from 1966 to 1972 and Green Bay Packers from 1973 to 1974. Brown is an alumnus of the University of Minnesota.

Brown was selected by the Kansas City Chiefs with their first round selection in the 1966 American Football League Draft and later that year Brown participated in the first AFL-NFL World Championship game with the team (later known as the Super Bowl). Three years later, Brown was on the 1969 Chiefs' team that won the final AFL-NFL World Championship.

Due to his speed of 4.7 in the 40 yard dash, Hank Stram, coach of the Chiefs, decided to try Brown at running back. Brown developed callouses on his thighs, which caused him to miss most of a season. Brown's greatest disappointment was failure to be in the starting lineup for Super Bowl I, when Stram decided to start Chuck Hurston at right end instead. Brown made up for that missed opportunity in Super Bowl IV, where he tackled Minnesota quarterback Joe Kapp, forcing him to leave the game.

He died on November 15, 1997, in Houston, Texas, when struck from behind by a motorist after walking home one day before his 54th birthday.

CFL Combine

The CFL Combine (formerly known as the Evaluation Camp or E-Camp) is a three-day program in which athletes from Canadian universities and Canadians in the NCAA are scouted by general managers, coaches and scouts of the Canadian Football League (CFL). The goal of the camp is for the nine CFL franchises to have a better idea of whom they would like to draft in the CFL draft which usually takes place roughly six weeks after the camp. The first combined Evaluation Camp took place in 2000 in Toronto and continued every year in Toronto until 2016 when it was announced that Regina, Saskatchewan would host the combine in 2017. It was also suggested that the league will begin rotating the Combine hosts every year. Winnipeg hosted in 2018 and the event returned to Toronto with the hiatus of the CFL Week event.

Since 2014, there have been regional combines in Western Canada, Montreal and Toronto in the week prior to the national combine. The regional combines provide a wider scope of athletes with the opportunity to be evaluated by CFL personnel. Players are then selected from these combines to participate in the National Combine to compete with athletes already invited there. The most recent combine, the 2019 National Combine took place from March 22 to March 24, 2019.

Dwight Stone (American football)

Dwight Stone (born January 28, 1964) was an American football running back, wide receiver, and kick returner in the National Football League for the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Carolina Panthers, and the New York Jets for 14 years. Stone originally signed with Pittsburgh as an undrafted free agent in 1987. Stone was the only undrafted free agent to make the opening day roster. He was an outstanding special teams gunner and kick returner for eight years with the Steelers. He was timed at 4.20 in the 40 yard dash and bench press 225 (28). Former Steelers coach Chuck Noll said that Stone was "the fastest player I've ever coached over 40 yards." He played college football at both Middle Tennessee State University and Marion Military Institute as a running back and averaged 7 yards per rush and scored over 40 touchdowns in his college career. He played high school football at Florala High School.

After retiring from the NFL, he became a police officer for the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department in Charlotte, NC where he served as both a school resource and patrol officer for 13 years. He retired from CMPD in 2015.

Jakeem Grant

Jakeem Grant (born October 30, 1992) is an American football wide receiver for the Miami Dolphins of the National Football League (NFL), usually operating as a return specialist. He was drafted by the Dolphins in the sixth round of the 2016 NFL Draft. He played college football at Texas Tech, where he set their all-time record for receiving yards.

Jamal Adams

Jamal Lee Adams (born October 17, 1995) is an American football strong safety for the New York Jets of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at LSU, and was drafted sixth overall in the 2017 NFL Draft by the Jets.

John Ross (American football)

John Ellis Ross III (born November 27, 1994) is an American football wide receiver for the Cincinnati Bengals of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at the University of Washington, and was drafted by the Bengals ninth overall in the 2017 NFL Draft.

Laquon Treadwell

Laquon Malik Treadwell (born June 14, 1995) is an American football wide receiver for the Minnesota Vikings of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at the University of Mississippi from 2013 to 2015, where he left as the school's all-time leader in receptions with 202 during the course of three seasons. He was drafted by the Vikings in the first round, 23rd overall of the 2016 NFL draft

Lorenzo Carter (American football)

Lorenzo Carter (born December 10, 1995) is an American football linebacker for the New York Giants of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Georgia.

Michael Bennett (running back)

Michael A. Bennett (born August 13, 1978) is a former American football running back in the National Football League. He was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings 27th overall in the 2001 NFL Draft. He played college football at Wisconsin.

A Pro Bowl selection with the Vikings in 2002, Bennett has also been a member of the New Orleans Saints, Kansas City Chiefs, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, San Diego Chargers, and Oakland Raiders. He was one of the fastest sprinters in college history clocking in a record 4.13 in the 40-yard dash, the second fastest in NFL history behind only Bo Jackson who ran a 4.12.

Mike Wallace (American football)

Burnell Michael "Mike" Wallace III (born August 1, 1986) is an American football wide receiver who is currently a free agent. He played college football for Ole Miss, and was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the third round, 84th overall of the 2009 NFL Draft. He has also played for the Miami Dolphins, Minnesota Vikings and Baltimore Ravens. Throughout his career, Wallace has been known for his speed after finishing with a time of 4.33-seconds in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine.

NFL Scouting Combine

The NFL Scouting Combine is a week-long showcase occurring every February at Lucas Oil Stadium (and formerly at the RCA Dome until 2008) in Indianapolis, where college football players perform physical and mental tests in front of National Football League coaches, general managers, and scouts. With increasing interest in the NFL Draft, the scouting combine has grown in scope and significance, allowing personnel directors to evaluate upcoming prospects in a standardized setting. Its origins have evolved from the National, BLESTO, and Quadra Scouting organizations in 1977 to the media event it has become today.

Athletes attend by invitation only. Implications of an athlete's performance during the combine can affect their draft status and salary, and ultimately their career. The draft has popularized the term "workout warrior", whereby an athlete's "draft stock" is increased based on superior measurable qualities such as size, speed, and strength, despite having an average or sub-par college career. The 2019 NFL scouting combine is scheduled for February 26 to March 4.

Orlando Brown Jr.

Orlando Claude Brown Jr. (born May 2, 1996) is an American football offensive tackle for the Baltimore Ravens of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Oklahoma, and was drafted by the Ravens in the third round of the 2018 NFL Draft. Brown is the son of the late offensive tackle Orlando Brown, who also played for the Ravens.

Rondel Menendez

Rondel Menendez (born May 18, 1975) is a former American football wide receiver. He was drafted by the Atlanta Falcons in the seventh-round of the 1999 NFL Draft out of Eastern Kentucky University. He shared the record for the fastest 40-yard dash time with Chris Johnson, recorded at the NFL Combine at 4.24 seconds. In 2017, his record was broken by John Ross, who ran a 4.22 second 40-yard dash.

Scott Huffman

Scott Huffman (born November 30, 1964 in Quinter, Kansas) is a retired American pole vaulter. He competed in the 1988, 1992, and 1996 Olympic Trials, earning a spot as an Olympian on the 1996 Atlanta team. He had a very successful NCAA record at the University of Kansas. He won the American national championships in 1993, 1994 and 1995. At the 1994 US Championships in Knoxville, Tennessee. Huffman set a new American Record of 5.97 meters (19 feet 7 inches), his personal best. The result placed him third in the world on the top performers list that season. Despite his small stature (1.74 m; 5 ft 9 in), Huffman was one of the fastest vaulters in history, having been clocked at 10.0m/second on the runway, a time equalled by former world record holder Sergey Bubka and a small handful of others. Huffman's time in the 40 yard dash was 4.36 seconds (fully automatic timing).

Huffman is notable for his occasional and unpredictable use of a one-legged straddle (similar to a high jumper) method to clear the bar. This technique is commonly called "The Huffman Roll".

Shamawd Chambers

Shamawd Chambers (born March 10, 1989) is a Canadian football wide receiver for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League (CFL). After the 2011 CIS season, he was ranked as the third best player in the Canadian Football League’s Amateur Scouting Bureau final rankings for players eligible in the 2012 CFL Draft and second by players in Canadian Interuniversity Sport. At the 2012 CFL Evaluation Camp, Chambers ran the fastest 40-yard dash, clocking in at 4.42. He was selected sixth overall by the Edmonton Eskimos in the 2012 CFL Draft.

Shaq Johnson

Shaquille Johnson (born May 2, 1993) is a Canadian football wide receiver for the BC Lions of the Canadian Football League (CFL). Johnson ran a 4.39 time at the 40-yard dash at a regional CFL combine before being drafted by the Lions in the fourth round of the 2016 CFL Draft. He spent most of the 2016 season on the practice roster before playing in two games with no receptions. Through 15 games in the 2017 season, Johnson had 27 catches with 501 yards and two touchdowns, placing him third on the team in receiving yardage.

Three-cone drill

The three-cone drill, or 3-cone drill, is a test performed by American football athletes at the NFL combine. It is primarily run to evaluate the agility, quickness and fluidity of movement of players by scouts, particularly for the NFL draft but also for collegiate recruiting. While not as highly regarded a test as the 40-yard dash, it is still an important barometer used by NFL personnel to compare players.

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