NFL Combine 2012: The 5 Fastest 40-Yard Dash Times in Combine History

Gary Davenport@@IDPSharksNFL AnalystFebruary 23, 2012

NFL Combine 2012: The 5 Fastest 40-Yard Dash Times in Combine History

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    "The Dash for Cash."

    That's what the 40-yard dash at the NFL scouting combine has come to be called by some, as college football fastest players gather in Indianapolis to sprint towards a goal of playing the National Football League.

    This year's draft class includes running back Chris Rainey of Florida, who has already made it clear that he wants to set a new record for the fastest 40 time since the combine switched to electronic timing in 1990. He recently told the Lakeland Ledger:

    I want to show the world what I can do. I already know I'm small. You know how everyone looks at small people. So 4.1 is my goal. That's a high goal but I always set high goals. I think I can get it.

    That would shatter the record for the fastest 40 in Indy, but until Rainey puts his motor with his mouth, he has yet to join this "Fast Five" of the quickest sprinters in combine history.

5. Jacoby Ford, WR, Oakland Raiders (2010)

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    TIME: 4.28 seconds

    The two-year pro struggled with injuries that cost him half the season in 2011, but Ford showed off the world-class speed that has led to four kickoff returns for touchdowns in his two seasons in the NFL when the 2009 NCAA 60-meter champ took to the track in Indy.

4. Jerome Mathis, WR, Free Agent (2005)

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    TIME: 4.28 seconds

    Jerome Mathis certainly had no trouble running fast at tiny Hampton University, where the 5'11" 184-pound speedster set FCS records for kickoff return average and touchdowns. Nor was it difficult for Mathis to tear it up in the combine.

    However, injuries and off-the-field issues led to the fourth-round pick's release by the Houston Texans in 2008, and Mathis has been bouncing around the CFL and arena football ever since.

3. Champ Bailey, CB, Denver Broncos (1999)

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    TIME: 4.28 seconds

    Before going on to a stellar 13-year career with the Washington Redskins and Denver Broncos, one that has included an NFL record 11 Pro Bowl appearances for a cornerback, Champ Bailey was just another promising rookie from the University of Georgia at the 1999 scouting combine.

    Bailey then went out and ran the fastest 40-yard dash ever by a defensive player at the combine, and any doubts the Redskins had about using their first-round pick on Bailey that year went up in smoke just as quickly.

2. DeMarcus Van Dyke, CB, Oakland Raiders (2011)

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    TIME: 4.28 seconds

    Given the need for speed possessed by late owner Al Davis, it's hardly a surprise to see the Oakland Raiders place two names on this list.

    DeMarcus Van Dyke was the fastest man at last year's combine. He impressed Davis and the Raiders brass (by which I mean Davis) enough that they used a third-round pick on Van Dyke, who played sparingly as a rookie.

1. Chris Johnson, RB, Tennessee Titans (2008)

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    TIME: 4.24 seconds

    If you play fantasy football, then you know that fantasy enthusiasts hand out more nicknames to players than Chris Berman.

    That's how Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson, long before his breakout "CJ2K" 2009 season, came to be known as "CJ4.24" after blistering the track at the combine in Indianapolis.

    I bet the Titans wonder whatever happened to that running back.