The NFL's 10 Fastest Game Day Players Ever

Chris TrapassoAnalyst INovember 5, 2012

The NFL's 10 Fastest Game Day Players Ever

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    You know what speed does?

    It kills. 

    Over the course of NFL history, we've witnessed guys with scintillating speed not only in shorts, but on Sundays.

    Mike Wallace's 51-yard touchdown against the New York Giants in Week 9 got us thinking. 

    Who are the fastest game day players ever?

    Not necessarily the fastest timed players in league history, the ones who flew on the field. 

Honorable Mention

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    The following players just missed the cut:

    Michael Vick

    Tim Brown

    Cliff Branch

    Devin Hester

    Lenny Moore

    Rod Woodson


No. 10: DeSean Jackson

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    DeSean Jackson is super quick, but he's also super fast. 

    He was billed as a downfield dynamo coming out of college and has lived up to expectations during his time with the Philadelphia Eagles. 

    In 2010, he led the NFL with a 22.5 yards-per-catch average and has excelled as a returner. 

    Though he's only 5'9'' and doesn't eat up a ton of yardage with each stride, his acceleration and ability to separate from defensive backs is fun to watch. 

No. 9: Mike Wallace

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    Mike Wallace is only 6'0'', but he's no short strider. 

    His acceleration helps him create separation on the go routes in which he's often asked to run in the Pittsburgh Steelers offense. 

    He has touchdowns of 81, 82, 95 yards during his young career and strikes fear in opposing secondaries every time he's on the field. 

    At the 2009 combine, he ran an official 4.33 in the 40-yard-dash, and his speed on game day is just as impressive. 

No. 8: Willie Gault

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    Willie Gault was a member of a world record-setting 4x100-meter relay team, but he never participated in the Olympics because the United States boycotted the 1980 Games. 

    He was the integral speedster on the famed 1985 Chicago Bears and had consecutive seasons with a yards-per-catch average over 24. 

    Gault's career came to an end in 1993 after an eight-catch, 64-yard season with the Oakland Raiders. 

    Take out his final year in the NFL, and Gault's career yards-per-catch average is 20.2. 

    A silky smooth strider with blazing game day speed. 

No. 7: Randy Moss

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    Randy Moss doesn't have the same quick-twitch acceleration as some of the other players on this list, but once he gets up to top speed, he runs past everyone. 

    At 6'4'' and a relatively lanky 210 pounds, he's a long strider, something that has made his game day speed deceptive throughout his entire career. 

    In his rookie year of 1998, he averaged 19 yards per catch and scored an insane 17 touchdowns. 

    During his prime, many believed Moss was the most intimidating deep threat in the history of the game. 

No. 6: Darrell Green

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    Darrell Green, the ageless wonder. 

    At the age of 40, he clocked an unbelievable 4.2 in the 40-yard dash during a Washington Redskins practice. 

    While the longevity of his speed that seemingly never left him is the lasting memory Green left us with, it's worth remembering how incredibly fast he was on the field on game days. 

    Although his career was littered with plays that highlighted his superb game-day speed, chasing down Tony Dorsett is an indelible demonstration of how inherently fast Green really was. 

No. 5: Chris Johnson

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    Johnson has disappointed in 2012, but there's no doubting his game-day speed. 

    He was timed at 4.24 at the 2008 combine and hasn't been slowed by equipment during his professional career. 

    Like Barry Sanders, Johnson is tremendously agile, but his burst and top end speed is unmatched in today's NFL and stacks up with the speediest players to ever step on the field.

No. 4: Bob Hayes

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    Bob Hayes first made his mark as a world-class sprinter at the 1964 Olympics when he won the 100-meter dash and set a world record with a blistering 10.06 time. 

    Then, he took his innate speed to the NFL, and it certainly translated. 

    The 2009 Hall of Fame inductee was selected to the Pro Bowl three times and boasts a ridiculous career yards-per-catch average of 20.0. 

    Hayes also pieced together the most dynamic back-to-back seasons in NFL history.

    In 1970, he finished the year with 26.1 yards-per-catch. In 1971, he "regressed" to a 24.0 yards-per-catch average. 

    A true burner. 

No. 3: Deion Sanders

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    Deion Sanders was the king of flash and excitement during his ultra-hyped career. 

    To some, he's remembered for his high-stepping touchdown celebrations. To others, his lockdown ability as a cornerback is held in the highest regard.

    While those two aspects of his game shouldn't be forgotten, neither should his amazing game-day speed.

    His jukes were video game-esque, and his acceleration was blinding. 

    Sanders had nine total return touchdowns as a professional. The instant he switched into top gear, there was no catching him. 

No. 2: Bo Jackson

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    Pound-for-pound, Bo Jackson was the most extraordinary athlete of his time, if not ever. 

    Don't believe me? 

    Check out the first run of that highlight reel. 

    Although it wasn't official, a prominent facet of Jackson's legend came when he "had the best verifiable time at a combine with his 4.12-second clocking at the Louisiana Superdome in 1986," as cited by USA Today.

    At 6'1'' and nearly 230 pounds, Jackson could certainly run through defenders, but had scat-back quickness and more game-day speed than any wide receiver in history.

No. 1: Barry Sanders

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    If that's not the most jaw-dropping, awe-inspiring NFL highlight reel you've ever seen, you're lying. 

    Barry Sanders' lateral agility is unparalleled, but as the video clearly demonstrates, his burst and straight-line speed were otherworldly. 

    He decided not to run at the 1989 combine, but did astonish professional head coaches and scouts during his Oklahoma State Pro Day. 

    This legendary tale from Gil Brandt on ProFootballHOF.com, who was in attendance:

    "He flew into Tulsa and came right from the airport to the workout. He got out of the car, got into some sweats, limbered up a little bit and ran a 4.37 in the 40-yard dash."

    That 4.37 speed undeniably translated to the field during his preeminent career.

    Barry had it all and is the fastest game-day player in NFL history.