The 2022 NFL Scouting Combine is here.
This week, draft prospects will put their skills on display in front of all 32 NFL teams at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
Prospects will be put through a variety of drills, from the three-cone to the vertical leap and the bench press. But one of the more closely watched drills each year is the 40-yard dash, which is a sprint that measures straight-line speed and explosiveness.
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Could speedsters like Penn State wide receiver Jahan Dotson and LSU cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. make history with their 40 times at the 2022 combine? Well, to do so, these are the times they’ll need to track down …
Who ran the fastest 40-yard dash in NFL Scouting Combine history?
The record-holder for the fastest 40 time at the NFL Scouting Combine since 1999, when an electronic clock was first used at the event, is John Ross III. In 2017, the wide receiver ran the 40-yard dash in a record-setting 4.22 seconds.
As seen in the video, Ross III actually injured himself during the sprint, though it didn’t turn out to be anything significant.
The Washington product went on to be drafted 26th overall by the Cincinnati Bengals, but his injury struggles from college have carried over into the NFL. Ross III played in just three games as a rookie and 27 total over his four years in Cincy, catching 62 passes for 957 yards and 11 touchdowns. He spent the 2022 season with the New York Giants, making 11 catches in 10 games.
Ross III took the electronically-timed 40-yard dash record from two players in Rondel Menendez and Chris Johnson.
Menendez finished his 40-yard dash in 4.24 seconds at the 1999 combine. A wide receiver out of Eastern Kentucky, Menendez was selected in the seventh round by the Atlanta Falcons. While he bounced around to several different teams, Menendez never appeared in an NFL game.
Johnson matched Menendez’s then-record time at the 2008 combine and would go on to have a much more successful pro career. The Tennessee Titans used the No. 24 overall pick on the running back out of Eastern Carolina and two seasons later he was the NFL’s rushing king. In 2009, Johnson rushed a staggering 358 times for 2,006 yards and 14 TDs en route to winning Offensive Player of the Year. He made three Pro Bowls and one All-Pro team across his 10 NFL seasons and is 35th on the league’s all-time rushing list with 9,651 yards.
Of course, posting a blazing fast 40 time doesn’t always equal stardom at the NFL level. Among the 14 fastest 40 times in combine history, only Johnson, Jerome Mathis and Hall of Famer Champ Bailey have made it to at least one Pro Bowl.
Mathis, who ran a 4.26-second 40, was a Pro Bowler and first-team All-Pro returner as a rookie after being picked in the fourth round of the 2005 draft by the Houston Texans. But the Hampton University product was out of the league after just three seasons.
Here's a full look at the fastest 40-yard dash times at the combine since 1999 (h/t 247 Sports and For The Win):
1. John Ross III, WR, 2017: 4.22 seconds
T-2. Rondel Menendez, WR, 1999: 4.24 seconds
T-2. Chris Johnson, RB, 2008: 4.24 seconds
T-4. Jerome Mathis, WR, 2005: 4.26 seconds
T-4. Dri Archer, RB, 2014: 4.26 seconds
T-6. Stanford Routt, CB, 2005: 4.27 seconds
T-6. Marquise Goodwin, WR, 2013: 4.27 seconds
T-6. Henry Ruggs III, WR, 2020, 4.27 seconds
T-9. Champ Bailey, CB, 1999: 4.28 seconds
T-9. Jacoby Ford, WR, 2010: 4.28 seconds
T-9. DeMarcus Van Dyke, CB, 2011: 4.28 seconds
T-9. J.J. Nelson, WR, 2015: 4.28 seconds
T-9. Jalen Myrick, CB, 2017: 4.28 seconds
14. Zedrick Woods, S, 2019: 4.29 seconds