Cornerbacks are always some of the most athletic talents on the football field. They have to be able to track and run stride for stride with the league’s best wide receivers. Keeping up with the likes of Tyreek Hill, Odell Beckham Jr., or DK Metcalf is no easy feat. So, who put up the fastest cornerback 40-yard dash times at the NFL Combine, and how did they fare in the pros? One key takeaway… the Raiders love fast cornerbacks. Three of the five names on this list were drafted by the franchise.
Fastest CB 40-yard Dashes of All Time
As a corner, it’s always advantageous to have excellent straight-line speed. If you can get out of your breaks, follow the receiver anywhere on the field, and end up running side-by-side downfield with them, that speed is going to come in extremely handy.
1) Kalon Barnes, Baylor (2022 Combine): 4.23 40-yard dash
Baylor CB Kalon Barnes holds the record for the fastest cornerback 40-yard dash time in NFL Combine history.
Not only is it the best time for cornerbacks, but it is the second-best time in the history of the NFL Combine, behind only WR John Ross.
Barnes was selected in the seventh round of the 2022 NFL Draft by the Minnesota Vikings. He was later cut and played on the practice squads of the Dolphins and Panthers.
2) DJ Turner II, Michigan (2023 Combine): 4.23 40-yard dash
Michigan’s DJ Turner II has the second-fastest cornerback 40-yard dash time in NFL combine history. Turner ran a 4.23 at the 2023 NFL Combine, putting him fourth all-time on the fastest 40-yard dashes, regardless of position.
3) Tariq Woolen, UTSA (2022 Combine): 4.26 40-yard dash
Before Turner ran his impressive 40, Tariq Woolen out of UTSA was firmly in second place with a 4.26 number.
Woolen would transform his impressive Combine performance into a fifth-round selection by the Seattle Seahawks. In his first year with the team, he was nominated to the Pro Bowl and tied for the most interceptions on the year.
3) Stanford Routt, Houston (2005 Combine): 4.27 40-yard dash
Since 2005, Stanford Routt held the record for the fastest CB at the NFL Combine. Routt went to the University of Houston and ran both indoor and outdoor track for the Cougars, as well as being a part of the football team.
Naturally, expectations for his speed were set high with his track/athletics background. Routt ran a 4.27 40-yard dash, taking the CB speed record.
Routt was selected by the Oakland Raiders in the second round of the 2005 NFL Draft and played seven seasons with the franchise. He played alongside well-known Raiders cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha.
Routt had short stints with the Kansas City Chiefs and the Houston Texans in 2012 before his career came to an end. He finished his NFL tenure with 12 interceptions.
T-4) Champ Bailey, Georgia (1999 Combine): 4.28 40-yard dash
This one requires no introduction. Bailey ran a 4.28 40-yard dash, holding the record until 2005. The former Georgia Bulldog went on to be a first-ballot Hall of Famer with one of the most impressive résumés of any cornerback to ever play in the National Football League.
Bailey was impressive the entire way through his career. He received All-American honors with the Georgia Bulldogs while playing both ways. In 1998, he managed 52 tackles, 3 interceptions, and 7 pass deflections, but that wasn’t all. He also caught 47 passes for 744 receiving yards and 5 touchdowns, posted 84 rushing yards, and returned kicks and punts, too.
Washington drafted him at No. 7 in 1999. His time in Washington ended with a falling out between Bailey and the franchise, and he was allowed to seek a trade. Washington traded him to the Denver Broncos in a deal that included RB Clinton Portis. Bailey settled in Denver nicely, spending 10 seasons with the franchise.
Bailey remains one of the most decorated cornerbacks of all time: three-time first-team All-Pro, four-time second-team All-Pro, 12 Pro Bowl appearances, the NFL’s 2000s All-Decade Team, and a first-ballot Hall Of Famer.
T-4) Jalen Myrick, Minnesota (2017 Combine): 4.28 40-yard dash
Jalen Myrick is the most recent name on our list, running a 4.28 40-yard dash at the 2017 NFL Combine. He was drafted in the seventh round by the Jacksonville Jaguars and contributed on special teams in his rookie year. He was waived in 2018.
Myrick went on to spells with the Atlanta Falcons and Minnesota Vikings. The DC Defenders then drafted him in the XFL Draft in 2020. An injury set him back, and he was eventually waived from injured reserve.
T-4) DeMarcus Van Dyke, Miami (2011 Combine): 4.28 40-yard dash
DeMarcus Van Dyke was a dual athlete for the Miami Hurricanes, and his 4.28 40-yard dash time contributed to him being selected by the Oakland Raiders with the 81st pick in the third round of the 2011 NFL Draft. He struggled to break into the rotation, which became the story of his pro career.
Van Dyke spent short spells with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Kansas City Chiefs, Minnesota Vikings, and Atlanta Falcons. His time in the NFL came to an end in 2016. He is now the cornerbacks coach for the Miami Hurricanes, his alma mater.