Every year, the NFL seems to get faster. There is nothing quite like watching a match up between a lockdown corner and bullet wide receiver.
In the Super Bowl, fans watched as blazing quick Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor tried to guard Packers wide receiver Greg Jennings. Speed is what makes this league so great.
Every season, a new class of players come into the league to prove they are fast enough and good enough to play at the next level. This season, the draft is full of some of the fastest athletes around.
The following are 10 of the fastest athletes in the 2011 NFL Draft.
Curtis Brown is one of the most pure athletes in the draft this season. He runs a 4.4 40-yard-dash and is one of the better lockdown corners in the draft.
His biggest knock is his size, standing only 5’10” 180 pounds. His lack of size has hurt him at times. He is not the greatest tackler, and he has a problem with wrapping up bigger guys.
If Brown wants to be a big-time defender at the next level, he also needs to work on his ball-hawking stills. Brown only recorded two interceptions in his four seasons for the Longhorns.
Green’s speed is often overlooked because of his prototypical size and amazing pass catching ability.
A.J. Green is a nightmare assignment for any cornerback. He stands 6’4” tall and weighs 205 pounds. With his blazing speed, he is everything you want in a big-time wide receiver.
He has been compared to Randy Moss in the past, and he might be just as good.
Green will be an easy top-five pick, and he will make an NFL team very happy. This speedster will have a long, successful pro career.
Titus Young claims that he is going to run a 4.2 40 yard dash in the combine. Most people think it is a ridiculous claim, but think again. Young has been training with sprinter Maurice Green to get faster.
His previous best 40 time is 4.35, still an unbelievable number.
Last season for the Broncos, Young was one of the most unstoppable skill players in the country. His speed and athleticism compares to that of Eagles Pro Bowl receiver DeSean Jackson.
Young will probably not be drafted until the late first or early second round, and he is one of the biggest draft steals available.
Rahim Moore may have been the best ball hawk in college football the last two seasons. He had 14 career interceptions during his three-year career at UCLA. His amazing speed makes him such a problem in the defensive backfield.
He can close on a ball faster than anybody in the draft. He is a zone specialist because he can cover such a huge area on the field.
Rahim Moore has the makings of an Ed Reed-type safety. Blazing speed, the ability to get interceptions, and he provides great run support.
Smith is one of the best playmakers in the draft this season. He can take it to the house every time he touches the ball.
He can run the 40-yard dash in about 4.35 seconds, and looks to impress the scouts at the combine. Smith is a bullet receiver and one of the best returners available.
Smith had an excellent season for Maryland last year, recording 152 catches for 1,055 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Noel Devine is not your prototypical NFL running back. He is only 5’7” and weighs just 160 pounds. But what Devine gives up in size, he more than makes up with his speed.
All eyes will be on Devine at the NFL combine. Many scouts believe he will run his 40-yard dash under 4.30 seconds.
If Devine can do so, his draft stock will rise. He might not be an every down back at the next level. But he is talented and will contribute at the next level at running back and on special teams.
The casual football fan will be pleasantly surprised when they see Jernigan’s numbers at the combine. Like Young and Devine, Jernigan has the potential to run his 40-yard dash in under 4.30 seconds.
He is only 5’9” and 190, but don’t let his size fool you. Jernigan is an amazing football player who is deceivingly strong.
NFL teams will not let an receiver who is this great of an athlete drop further than the second or third round.
Moch is a 6’1” 245 pound defensive end/linebacker who can run the 40 yard dash in 4.3 seconds. I want you to go back and read that sentence again.
Moch is one of the most freakish athletes we have seen come out of the draft in years.
The only knock on Moch is that he lacks some the power NFL defensive ends. This weakness will probably force him to play linebacker in the pros. It is a move that Dontay Moch should be able to make.
An athlete like Moch only comes around once every few seasons. NFL teams will probably draft him around the third round, but his stock should go up after the combine.
Carmichael ended his career at Virginia Tech playing the best football of his life. He had a total of 10 interceptions in his last two seasons, and was one of the most valuable defenders on a tough Virginia Tech squad.
He has 4.3 speed and has great instincts on the football field.
Though a tad undersized, Rashard Carmichael has the makings to be a very good cornerback in the NFL. His speed, aggressiveness and awareness are rank among the best in the 2011 draft.
Peterson won the Bednarik Award (nation's best defender) and the Jim Thorpe Award (nation's best DB) for his exceptional play last season. Going into the 2011 draft, many scouts thing he is the best talent available.
Peterson runs a 4.4 speed, and seems even faster on the football field. He is a deadly kick-returner and the best lockdown corner available
The combination of his speed, size, athleticism and awareness prove that he is going to be a superstar at the next level. It would be outrageous if Peterson drops any lower than the fifth pick in the 2011 NFL draft.