After I recently heard the ESPN Monday Night Football crew wax poetically about how Pittsburgh Steelers’ receiver Mike Wallace is arguably is the “fastest player” in NFL – for goodness sakes…ESPN’s Matt Millen called Wallace, “The modern-day Cliff Branch”, which the youngster responded “Who?”. I decided to put my own list and we will see if any of them can one day be on the impact level of the NFL’s ultimate speedster, Bullet Bob Hayes.
So here are my Top 10 Fastest players of the 2010 NFL Season.
1) Tennessee Titans RB Chris Johnson — This one is a No-Brainer… Arguably the NFL’s best all-around running back, the NFL 2009 rushing champ cannot be caught in the open field as shown by his plethora of 75-yard plus touchdown runs in his short career. CJ2K holds the NFL Combine’s record for the fastest electronically recorded time (4.24 in 2008). And believe it, every defender in the league holds their breath when this mercurial sees a crack of daylight. Also Johnson has a Madden 2011 high-speed ranking of “99”.
2) Oakland Raiders WR Jacoby Ford – His Week 9 performance (6 catches for 148 yards with a 47.0 ypc) just showed why Raiders owner Al Davis has an affinity for world-class sprinters. Ford was the 2009 NCAA indoor 60-meter champ and 2010 NFL Combine forty champ (official time of 4.38), but he is not just a track guy as he brings his game-breaking skill to the NFL gridiron too.
3) Pittsburgh Steelers WR Mike Wallace – This young 2nd-year receiver from Ole Miss has made everyone in P-Burgh forget about former Super Bowl hero Santonio Holmes. Has Moss-like speed and potential without the attitude. His 2010 numbers are 22 catches for 507 yard, 23.0 ypc, and 5 TDs with a long of 53 yards, plus don’t forget no Big Ben for first 4 games.
4) Philadelphia Eagles WR DeSean Jackson – Probably the NFL’s most dangerous receiver after catching the ball in the open field. If he can avoid big hits, D-Jax could rival Moss as the NFL’s premiere deep route runner. He also scored six touchdowns of at least 50 yards in 2009 and is a phenomenal punt returner. Despite a concussion earlier in 2010, Jackson has numbers of 26 catches for 504 yards, 19.4 ypc, 4 TDs, and a long of 61 yards
5) Detroit Lions RB Jahvid Best – This rookie running back has quickly put his name on the map by display great acceleration, hands in catching the ball, and running to the outside. The former California high school state champion sprinter (100M) will need to avoid the injury bug to be considered an every down threat. His “Best” game was in a Week 2 loss to the Eagles where he ran for 17 times for 78 yards and 2 TDs plus had 9 receptions for 154 yards and 1 TD (75-yards).
6) Buffalo Bills RB/KR CJ Spiller – In my opinion this rookie speedster is being under-utilized in Buffalo. The 2010 first-round pick has game-breaking ability that should be more used than just on 3rd downs and special teams – only had 57 touches in 2010. However Spiller will need to be more durable to be an “X” factor in the NFL. Did have a 95-yard kick return touchdown in Week 3 against New England.
7) Kansas City Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles – A former sprinter at the University of Texas, Charles is now the engine that makes the resurgent Kansas City Chiefs go – so far this season he has 719 yards rushing and 2 TDs on 113 carries. In 2010, the Chiefs are averaging 179.6 yards rushing a game and Charles is a huge part of it.
8) Philadelphia Eagles QB Michael Vick – I can easily say that “Michael Vick is the fastest quarterback ever in the National Football League”. Even after being away from the game for over 2 years, Vick still has a burst that would make most running backs envious. MV7 is the only NFL quarterback to rush for over 1,000 yards in a season, but now he is even throwing from the pocket too as shown by his 105.3 quarterback rating.
9) Tennessee Titans WR Randy Moss – Even at age 33, there is no receiver in the NFL better at running a “9” route in the NFL. If he is even…he is leaving. Moss is still a game-breaker, that’s why the Tennessee Titans took a chance on him. The sometimes pain in the butt receiver has an eye-popping 15.6 ypc for his career.
10a) Chicago Bears WR/KR Devin Hester – Has returned to his roots, playing special teams, and it already has paid dividends in 2010 – after a 2-year drought, has two returns for scores. Tied 14-year veteran Brian Mitchell’s NFL record or 13 career return touchdowns in only 5 years (262 career returns to Mitchell’s 1,070 attempts). All he needs is a crack of daylight – “Devin Hester, You are Ridiculous!”
10b) Chicago Bears WR/KR Johnny Knox – This small-school speedster from Abilene Christian is growing into Bears’ offensive coordinator Mike Martz’s top weapon due to his blazing speed. Knox’s 2010 numbers are 27 catches for 527 yards, 19.5 ypc, and 1 TD
Honorable Mention: Dexter McCluster, Brandon Banks, DeAngelo Hall, Reggie Bush, Fabian Washington, Andre Johnson, Devrey Henderson, Brian Witherspoon, David Gettis, Darius Heyward-Bey, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Chris Carr, Taylor Mays, Ted Ginn Jr, Donte Stallworth and Percy Harvin