Who will be the fastest player at the NFL Scouting Combine (March 3-6 on NFL Network)? I think we have 2-3 candidates capable of approaching Chris Johnson's record time of 4.24 seconds in the 40-yard dash, and we know from past combines that CJ2K keeps an eye on the proceedings. Here's how I would rank the favorites this year (based on play speed, track background and information from NFL scouts):
NOTE: Click on each player's name for a full combine scouting report.
- Mayock's standouts: Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4
- Winners and losers: Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4
- Best of combine from past decade
- Notable prospects not invited
- Schools with most players attending combine
1. Kermit Whitfield, WR/KR, Florida State: Whitfield has world-class speed. He set the Florida high school state record in the 100 meters with a time of 10.21 seconds. He should run the 40 in the low 4.3s and has a chance to potentially sneak into the upper 4.2s.
2. John Ross, WR, Washington: Ross is tremendously explosive and he has a track background. The University of Washington timed him at under 4.3 seconds in the 40 last spring, and he told MMQB that he recently ran a 4.30 laser-timed 40. He's nursing an injured shoulder (he'll have surgery after his pro day), but that shouldn't have too much of an impact on his time in Indy.
3. Adoree' Jackson, CB, USC: Jackson will put on a show in the broad jump and vertical jump (he's a two-time Pac-12 champ in the long jump). He should also post a blazing-fast 40 time. He posted a personal best 10.38 100-meter time last spring for the Trojans track team.
4. Jalen Myrick, CB, Minnesota: Myrick is one of the fastest players in the country and his high school track background should help him get a tremendous start, which is the key to running a fast 40 time. His speed is easy to spot on tape. He can recover and close ground in a hurry. He should run in the low 4.3s.
5. Shelton Gibson, WR, West Virginia: Gibson's speed jumps off the screen when you study his tape. West Virginia has produced some very explosive players over the last decade (Tavon Austin, Kevin White) and Gibson is next in line. He has a track background and he should run in the mid-to-low 4.3s in Indianapolis.
6. Jabrill Peppers, S, Michigan: Peppers is an electric player with the ball in his hands, and it's easy to notice his explosiveness. He was a dynamic track athlete in high school, setting the state record in the 200-meter dash. Scouts have been told he consistently runs in the mid-4.3s and that is the expectation for him at the combine.
7. Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State: Cook is impossible to ignore when you are studying defensive players from opposing teams. I find myself transfixed on Cook because of the ease with which he runs away from defenders. I don't think he will be the fastest FSU player at the combine (see Whitfield, No. 1 on my list), but he could end up being the second-fastest player in the draft class.
8. Curtis Samuel, RB/WR, Ohio State: Samuel has been a do-it-all playmaker for the Buckeyes and his game is predicated on pure speed. He was the state runner-up in the 55-meter dash while attending Erasmus High School in Brooklyn, New York. At worst, he should run close to 4.40 seconds in the 40 at the combine.
9. Joe Williams, RB, Utah: Williams has some stiffness as a running back, but there is no denying his suddenness and top speed. He has been timed in the mid-4.3s while at Utah and I expect him to run in that range at the combine.
10. KD Cannon, WR, Baylor: Baylor always has speed at the skill positions and this year is no different. Cannon is very explosive (no pun intended) on tape and he should post an impressive 40 time at the combine. He participated on the Baylor track team in 2015 and clocked a 10.58 100-meter dash time at the Big 12 Championships.
Follow Daniel Jeremiah on Twitter @MoveTheSticks.