When comparing quarterback’s time in the 40-yard dash, Lamar Jackson grades out as the fastest quarterback in the NFL with a 4.34 time. Rookie Malik Willis was close behind with a time of 4.37 and Kyler Murray at 4.38. [1, 2]
But these times are all from their collegiate careers and none of them ran at the NFL Combine. To get another data point, we can also look at the Madden video game to see what they rated their speed along with the NFL’s Next Gen Stats that records a player’s in-game speed.
My name is David, and after watching football for more than 30 years, nothing has grabbed my interest like the explosion of athletic, running quarterbacks that have turned the NFL on its head. In this article, I’m excited to discuss how these magnificent athletes’ have changed the game, and why we may have a new champion for the title of “fastest quarterback” as soon as next year.
- Lamar Jackson is the fastest quarterback based on 40 times as well as having the fastest speed rating in the Madden video game.
- Many of the league’s fastest quarterbacks did not run the 40 at the combine, leaving us with unofficial numbers from college events.
- Justin Fields had the most appearances on Next Gen Stats list of fastest quarterbacks including the #1 spot with a top speed of 21.23 m.p.h. 
Fastest Quarterbacks by 40-Time
Over the last ten years, the NFL has seen a change in the quarterback position. More quarterbacks are deviating from the traditional “pocket passer” with teams targeting more athletic players at the position.
We see this in several ways, the first of which is how many of a team’s rushing yards are compiled by the quarterback. The number has been steadily rising as quarterbacks like Peyton Manning and Drew Brees have retired.
Filling their shoes are players that can create offense with both their arm and their legs such as Jalen Hurts, Josh Allen, and Lamar Jackson. Even quarterbacks we don’t consider scramblers are more mobile than before. Patrick Mahomes, Joe Burrow, and Justin Herbert can make plays out of the structure and take off running if necessary. 
Many quarterbacks choose not to run the 40-yard dash at their rookie combine, but they all have at least one recorded time from college that we can examine. There are several reasons why a player’s 40-time may not indicate how fast they are in a real game, but for our purposes, it’s a decent measuring stick to narrow the field to the fastest quarterbacks in the league.
Ten Fastest Quarterbacks in the NFL by 40-time
- Lamar Jackson: 4.34 (unofficial at Louisville)
- Malik Willis: 4.37 (unofficial at Auburn)
- Kyler Murray: 4.38 (unofficial at Oklahoma)
- Justin Fields: 4.44 (unofficial at Ohio State)
- Taysom Hill: 4.46 (BYU Pro-Day)
- Marcus Mariota: 4.48 (NFL Combine)
- Trey Lance: 4.5 (unofficial at EXOS)
- Russel Wilson: 4.55 (NFL Combine)
- Bryce Perkins: 4.55 (NFL Combine)
- Jalen Hurts: 4.59 (NFL Combine)
(firstsportz.com & nfl.com)
By these numbers, we have a competitive race for the top spot between Jackson, Willis, and Murray. It’d be amazing to see these three in a straight-line race to see if these numbers hold up. Unfortunately, Kyler Murray tore his ACL halfway through the season, and it’s unclear if he’ll be able to return to top form.
I know Taysom Hill has carved out a decent career as a gadget player who has started at quarterback on occasion. But he was the player I was most surprised to see on this list. He just never struck me as that fast, but when given the chance, he’s shown a nice mix of power and speed.
Madden Speed Ratings
Taking a player’s 40-yard dash time from their rookie combine or college is one of the few tangible numbers we have to help measure speed. But how do we rank players after they’ve been in the league for a couple of years? There’s only so much we can determine from this single data point.
It can be hard to measure a player’s in-game speed, but luckily, we can rank these quarterbacks in a few other ways.
Let’s take a look at Madden 23’s speed ratings. Madden’s ratings are somewhat arbitrary but are meticulously studied and debated while in-season updates are constantly trying to tweak and improve the game’s realism. 
Madden’s speed ratings actually align pretty well with what the 40-times tell us with Jackson, Willis, and Murray taking the top 3 positions. We could quibble with Lamar being a 96 while Murray and Willis are “only” 92, but that’s splitting hairs.
Two additions that I didn’t expect after looking at the 40 times were Daniel Jones and Josh Allen. These are two of the most accomplished running quarterbacks in the league with Jones running for 708 yards while Allen gained 762. 
Maybe Madden’s rating czars were influenced by their rushing production and chose to give them a boost. Allen and Jones both ran at the NFL Combine, with Allen running a 4.75 and Jones running a 4.81. 
Those are decent numbers for a quarterback but seem high for players with 88 and 89-speed ratings.
To be fair, Jones and Allen have recorded some of the fastest speeds as measured by the NFL’s Next Gen Stats (NGS). Both have topped 20 m.p.h multiple times which puts them in rare company with the other quarterbacks on the list.
With Murray’s injury and Malik Willis playing sparingly during his rookie year, it’s not surprising to see neither of them on the list for 2022. Justin Fields’ domination of the top 10 makes me wonder if we may see him challenge Lamar Jackson for the title of fastest quarterback in Madden 24. Watching his highlights it’s hard not to make the case. And as a Vikings fan, it’s hard not to tremble at what the next few years will be like trying to bring this guy down in the open field.
Watching the transition from immobile pocket passers to versatile and dynamic athletes whose legs are just as dangerous as their arms, has been one of the most enjoyable evolutions in football for me.
As defenses evolve to counter this new threat, I’m interested to see if offenses can continue to find ways to manipulate defenses with mobile quarterbacks, or if we’ll see a transition back to the more traditional quarterback archetype.
Which quarterback type do you prefer? Who’s your favorite signal caller to watch break containment and run in the open field? Let us know in the comments below.
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