The 40-yard dash is the primary measurement NFL teams use to gauge a player’s speed. The opportunity to see a player display that speed in an actual game is rare and only occurs on long plays such as touchdown passes and breakaway runs.
The NFL tracks player speeds using miles per hour in all such occurrences throughout the season with its NextGen Stats. Through the first six weeks, the NFL’s top five fastest runners include some surprising names, none of them are named Tyreek Hill, all of them topped the 21-MPH mark, and the top speed is the fastest recorded in three seasons.
5. DJ Moore, WR, Carolina Panthers (Week 5) — 21.52 MPH
In Week 5, Carolina Panthers quarterback Teddy Bridgewater threw a short pass to receiver DJ Moore. The third-year receiver caught the pass and then raced down the left sideline 57 yards for the score. Moore’s top speed was clocked at 21.52 MPH making him the NFL’s fifth-fastest runner in 2020.
4. Derrick Henry, RB, Tennessee Titans (Week 6) — 21.62 MPH
After the Houston Texans surged to a 23-21 fourth-quarter lead, the Tennessee Titans started the next series at their own 6-yard line. It was a short series as Derrick Henry took the handoff on first down, made an elusive move to his right, then gradually migrated his way back to the left sideline, leaving behind Texans defenders as he raced 94 yards to pay-dirt. He was recorded at 21.62 MPH.
3. Michael Davis, CB, LA Chargers (Week 4) — 21.68 MPH
LA Chargers cornerback Michael Davis is the only defensive player making the list of NFL’s fastest runners in 2020. Against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Davis undercut a pass from Tom Brady to his intended receiver and raced down the right sidelines 78 yards for a pick-six. At his top speed, Davis was recorded at 21.68 MPH.
2. Raheem Mostert, RB, San Francisco 49ers (Week 1) — 22.73 MPH
Raheem Mostert opened the 2020 NFL season with a bang when he caught a short pass over the middle from Jimmy Garoppolo in the first quarter and then split the Arizona Cardinals defense racing down the middle of the field for 76 yards. He is the only player to top the 22-MPH mark this season at 22.73 MPH.
1. Raheem Mostert, RB, San Francisco 49ers (Week 2) — 23.09 MPH
If there was any doubt whether or not Raheem Mostert’s recorded speed in Week 1 was accurate, he answered those questions definitively in Week 2 busting off an 80-yard touchdown run against the New York Jets. NextGen Stats recorded Mostert running at an impressive 23.09 MPH, which makes Mostert not only the NFL’s fastest runner in 2020, but the NFL’s fastest runner in the last three seasons.
Mostert’s journey to the NFL is a remarkable one. He went undrafted in the 2015 NFL Draft, and prior to landing with the 49ers in 2017, he had played with four different teams. His perseverance has paid off in a big way and he’s proven not only is he a quality running back, he’s the NFL’s fastest runner and it’s not even close.
All stats courtesy of NFL NextGen Stats.