Fastest Running Back 40 Times in NFL Combine History

Running Back 40 Times NFL Combine

I’ve always loved the NFL Combine. A series of events to evaluate the physical characteristics of the best college football players each year. While it’s debatable whether this whole event is actually valuable (why we’re still doing 225 rep tests I’ll never know), my fascination with it has never waned.

When I trained players for the combine, one of the things we would always do is look at previous years’ results to see how we stacked up. It was a tool for goal-setting and motivation.

I basically did the same thing for this guide. I went through all the previous NFL Combines to find the fastest running back times of all time.

Best Running Back NFL Combine 40 Times All-Time

Fastest Running Back Times in NFL Combine History
Player School Time Year
Chris Johnson East Carolina 4.24 2008
Dri Archer Kent State 4.26 2014
Keith Marshall Georgia 4.31 2016
Darren McFadden Arkansas 4.33 2008
Onterio McCalebb Auburn 4.34 2013
Jahvid Best California 4.35 2010
Anthony Alridge Houston 4.36 2008
Knile Davis Arkansas 4.37 2013
T.J. Logan North Carolina 4.37 2017
C.J. Spiller Clemson 4.37 2010
Pierre Strong South Dakota St 4.37 2022
Isiah Pacheco Rutgers 4.37 2022

Year By Year Top Running Back 40 Times

Here is a breakdown of the top 5 40 times from each year going back to 2012. In addition to the top 5 each year, I’ve also included any Running Back that has run a 4.40 or faster.

Related –> NFL Combine Averages By Position at 2022 NFL Combine


Fastest NFL Combine Running Back Times 2022
Player School Time Year
Pierre Strong South Dakota State 4.37 2022
Isiah Pacheco Rutgers 4.37 2022
Ty Chandler North Carolina 4.38 2022
Kenneth Walker III Michigan State 4.38 2022
D’vonte Price Florida International 4.38 2022
Breece Hall Iowa State 4.39 2022
Zamir White Georgia 4.40 2022


Fastest NFL Combine Running Back Times 2020
Player School Time Year
Jonathan Taylor Wisconsin 4.39 2020
Darrynton Evans Appalachian State 4.41 2020
Raymond Calais Louisiana-Lafayette 4.42 2020
Anthony McFarland Maryland 4.44 2020
Cam Akers Florida State 4.47 2020


Fastest NFL Combine Running Back Times 2019
Player School Time Year
Justice Hill Oklahoma State 4.40 2019
Ryquell Armstead Temple 4.45 2019
Jordan Scarlett Florida 4.47 2019
Mike Weber Ohio State 4.47 2019
Travis Homer Miami 4.48 2019


Fastest NFL Combine Running Back Times 2018
Player School Time Year
Nyheim Hines NC State 4.38 2018
Saquon Barkley Penn State 4.40 2018
Kalen Ballage Arizona State 4.46 2018
Rashaad Penny San Diego State 4.46 2018
Derrius Guice LSU 4.49 2018


Fastest NFL Combine Running Back Times 2017
Player School Time Year
T.J. Logan North Carolina 4.37 2017
Joe Williams Utah 4.41 2017
Tarik Cohen North Carolina A&T 4.42 2017
De’Angelo Henderson Sr. Coastal Carolina 4.48 2017
Christian McCaffrey Stanford 4.48 2017
Donnel Pumphrey San Diego State 4.48 2017


Fastest NFL Combine Running Back Times 2016
Player School Time Year
Keith Marshall Georgia 4.31 2016
Tyler Ervin San Jose State 4.41 2016
Kenyan Drake Alabama 4.45 2016
Daniel Lasco California 4.46 2016
Marshaun Coprich Illinois State 4.47 2016
Ezekiel Elliott Ohio State 4.47 2016
Wendell Smallwood West Virginia 4.47 2016


Fastest NFL Combine Running Back Times 2015
Player School Time Year
Jeremy Landford Michigan State 4.42 2015
Karlos Williams Florida State 4.48 2015
Trey Williams Texas A&M 4.49 2015
David Johnson Northern Iowa 4.50 2015
Melvin Gordon Wisconsin 4.52 2015


Fastest NFL Combine Running Back Times 2014
Player School Time Year
Dri Archer Kent State 4.26 2014
Jerick McKinnon Georgia Southern 4.41 2014
Henry Josey Missouri 4.43 2014
Damien Williams Oklahoma 4.45 2014
LaDarius Perkins Mississippi State 4.46 2014


Fastest NFL Combine Running Back Times 2013
Player School Time Year
Onterio McCalebb Auburn 4.34 2013
Knile Davis Arkansas 4.37 2013
Kerwynn Williams Utah State 4.48 2013
Johnathan Franklin UCLA 4.49 2013
Michael Ford LSU 4.50 2013


Fastest NFL Combine Running Back Times 2012
Player School Time Year
Lamar Miller Miami (FL) 4.40 2012
Chris Rainey Florida 4.45 2012
LaMichael James Oregon 4.45 2012
Ronnie Hillman San Diego State 4.45 2012
Cyrus Gray Texas A&M 4.47 2012
Isaiah Pead Cincinnati 4.47 2012


Does Running a Fast 40 at the Combine Guarantee Success for a Running Back?

Running a fast 40 at the NFL Combine can lead to much hype and recognition, but does it directly translate to NFL success?

Not at all.

I looked at the careers of the all-time top 10 running back times (I left Strong and Pacheco out because they’re both so recent) and here is what I found.

Only 4 of the 10 played more than 2 seasons in the NFL (Johnson 10, McFadden 10, Spiller 8 and Davis 4)

Only 2 of the 10 made a Pro Bowl (Johnson 3x and Spiller once). Johnson also won offensive player of the year one of those years when he ran for over 2000 yards.

Finally, having an all-time best 40 time wasn’t enough to get two of the top 10 players (McCalebb & Alridge) drafted.

So, while running a fast 40 is always better than running a slow one, it definitely doesn’t guarantee you success in the NFL. At least not at the running back position.

What was Adrian Peterson’s 40 Time?

Adrian Peterson ran a 4.41 at the 2007 NFL Combine. What made this time even more impressive is the fact that Peterson weighed close to 220 pounds.

What was Melvin Gordon’s 40 Time?

Melvin Gordon ran a 4.52 at the 2015 NFL Combine – a very good time for a running back especially considering Gordon weighed 215 pounds at the time.

What was Ezekial Elliott’s 40 Time?

Ezekial Elliott ran a 4.47 at the 2016 NFL Combine. 4.47 was tied for the 5th fastest time for a running back that year. Elliott weighed 225 pounds.

Final Thoughts

Keep in mind that not everyone that gets invited to NFL Combine actually runs a 40 at the Combine. So, some players that potentially could have run extremely fast times don’t have an official time on the record.

On top of that, there are many players each year that would have put up fast times and had success at the NFL level that don’t receive an NFL Combine invite.


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Ryan Horton

Horton Barbell was created by Ryan Horton who has served as a Sports Performance Coach for almost 20 years. My mission is to create a training resource to help as many coaches and athletes as possible maximize athletic potential.

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