Besides the seriously big hits, there are few more epic moments in a game of football than when a truly elite speedster-of-a-back gets the ball in space and turns on the afterburners en route to some big yardage or a touchdown.
Fans love to watch genuine pace out on the turf, and NFL aficionados have been fortunate in this department: the league has seen more than its fair share of fleet-footed talent over the years.
The fastest player of all time is arguably former Tennessee Titans RB Chris Johnson, who certainly posted the fastest 40-yard dash ever recorded at the 2008 NFL combine, finishing in just 4.24s!
Johnson went on to enjoy a fine NFL career, posting almost 4,000-yards from scrimmage in his first two seasons at Tennessee. But injuries conspired, striking Johnson down in his prime -- just 349-yards away from the 10,000 mark, the East Carolina University product was forced into an early retirement in 2017.
This year's 2021 NFL Draft class is crammed full of serious speed in just about every position; even Ja'marr Chase failed to make the top-five!
But which players are in Chris Johnson's league of speed?
Take a look at the...
5 Fastest players in the 2021 NFL Draft
And remember, the fastest 40-yards of all time is Chris Johnson's 4.24 in 2008.
(in descending order)
1.WR Anthony Schwartz, Auburn: 4.26 seconds
Not many fans are talking about Auburn wide receiver Anthony Schwartz, but they probably should be. The spritely receiver clocked a 40-yard dash time of 4.26 seconds! That's just 0.2s off the fastest time ever set.
As you can see in the video above, Schwartz has the ability to leave a defense for dead if allowed to pick up steam. Expect to see the Auburn star go off the board in the top 100.
T-2. Eric Stokes, CB, Georgia: 4.31 seconds
One of the very few cornerbacks capable of tracking Antony Schwartz in the open field is Georgia's Eric Stokes.
Stokes posted a 40-yard dash time of 4.29s at his NFL pro day but has been known to run it four-tenths of a second slower (4.25), which would make him the third-fastest player ever to suit up in the NFL.
Stokes is expected to go off the board in the top 50-60 in the 2021 NFL draft, beginning Thursday night on the fantastic NFLGamePass.
T-2. Rondale Moore, WR, Purdue: 4.29 seconds
Rondale Moore is a smash-mouth WR who has been likened to the San Francisco 49ers Deebo Samuel. The comparison is due to Moore's ability to bounce off tackles and continue downfield at high speed in much the same fashion that Samuel has paraded since he entered the NFL in 2019.
One huge differentiation between the two receivers though, is that Moore runs the 40-yard dash a full 0.19 seconds faster than the 49ers star!
For my money, assuming he can keep himself fit, Rondale Moore is the pick of the receivers in this year's class, so expect to see him go off the board in the top 40.
T-4. WR Shi Smith (South Carolina) 4.33 seconds
Touted by most scouts and analysts as a mid-round slot receiver, South Carolina's Shi Smith ran the 40-yard dash in an electrifying 4.33s on his pro day.
Known to be scrappy and in possession of a safe pair of hands, could Smith be the man to replace Julian Edelman at the New England Patriots?
T-4. CB Kary Vincent (LSU) 4.33 seconds
Plenty of LSU fans will tell you that Kary Vincent is a sleeper pick at CB in this year's draft.
Vincent allowed the second-lowest passer-rating in slot coverage among all CBs in college football last season and, on top of that, he ran the 40 in an incredible 4.33 seconds.
Vincent should be considered a great deep-round pick for any team that fails to buttress their coverage positions come the weekend.