Running Back 40 Times NFL Combine

Fastest Running Back 40 Times in NFL Combine History

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 train players for the combine, one of the things we always do is look at previous years’ results to see how we stack up. It is a great 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
Chris JohnsonEast Carolina4.242008
Dri ArcherKent State4.262014
Keith MarshallGeorgia4.312016
Devon AchaneTexas A&M4.322023
Darren McFaddenArkansas4.332008
Onterio McCalebbAuburn4.342013
Jahvid BestCalifornia4.352010
Anthony AlridgeHouston4.362008
Jahmyr GibbsAlabama4.362023
Knile DavisArkansas4.372013
T.J. LoganNorth Carolina4.372017
C.J. SpillerClemson4.372010
Pierre StrongSouth Dakota St4.372022
Isiah PachecoRutgers4.372022
Keaton MitchellEast Carolina4.372023

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 2023 NFL Combine


Fastest NFL Combine Running Back Times 2023
Devon AchaneTexas A&M4.322023
Jahmyr GibbsAlabama4.362023
Keaton MitchellEast Carolina4.372023
Deneric PrinceTulsa4.412023
Chase BrownIllinois4.432023

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


Fastest NFL Combine Running Back Times 2022
Pierre StrongSouth Dakota State4.372022
Isiah PachecoRutgers4.372022
Ty ChandlerNorth Carolina4.382022
Kenneth Walker IIIMichigan State4.382022
D’vonte PriceFlorida International4.382022
Breece HallIowa State4.392022
Zamir WhiteGeorgia4.402022


Fastest NFL Combine Running Back Times 2020
Jonathan TaylorWisconsin4.392020
Darrynton EvansAppalachian State4.412020
Raymond CalaisLouisiana-Lafayette4.422020
Anthony McFarlandMaryland4.442020
Cam AkersFlorida State4.472020


Fastest NFL Combine Running Back Times 2019
Justice HillOklahoma State4.402019
Ryquell ArmsteadTemple4.452019
Jordan ScarlettFlorida4.472019
Mike WeberOhio State4.472019
Travis HomerMiami4.482019


Fastest NFL Combine Running Back Times 2018
Nyheim HinesNC State4.382018
Saquon BarkleyPenn State4.402018
Kalen BallageArizona State4.462018
Rashaad PennySan Diego State4.462018
Derrius GuiceLSU4.492018


Fastest NFL Combine Running Back Times 2017
T.J. LoganNorth Carolina4.372017
Joe WilliamsUtah4.412017
Tarik CohenNorth Carolina A&T4.422017
De’Angelo Henderson Sr.Coastal Carolina4.482017
Christian McCaffreyStanford4.482017
Donnel PumphreySan Diego State4.482017


Fastest NFL Combine Running Back Times 2016
Keith MarshallGeorgia4.312016
Tyler ErvinSan Jose State4.412016
Kenyan DrakeAlabama4.452016
Daniel LascoCalifornia4.462016
Marshaun CoprichIllinois State4.472016
Ezekiel ElliottOhio State4.472016
Wendell SmallwoodWest Virginia4.472016


Fastest NFL Combine Running Back Times 2015
Jeremy LandfordMichigan State4.422015
Karlos WilliamsFlorida State4.482015
Trey WilliamsTexas A&M4.492015
David JohnsonNorthern Iowa4.502015
Melvin GordonWisconsin4.522015


Fastest NFL Combine Running Back Times 2014
Dri ArcherKent State4.262014
Jerick McKinnonGeorgia Southern4.412014
Henry JoseyMissouri4.432014
Damien WilliamsOklahoma4.452014
LaDarius PerkinsMississippi State4.462014


Fastest NFL Combine Running Back Times 2013
Onterio McCalebbAuburn4.342013
Knile DavisArkansas4.372013
Kerwynn WilliamsUtah State4.482013
Johnathan FranklinUCLA4.492013
Michael FordLSU4.502013


Fastest NFL Combine Running Back Times 2012
Lamar MillerMiami (FL)4.402012
Chris RaineyFlorida4.452012
LaMichael JamesOregon4.452012
Ronnie HillmanSan Diego State4.452012
Cyrus GrayTexas A&M4.472012
Isaiah PeadCincinnati4.472012


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 who gets invited to the 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 who 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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