It’s fitting that the person quickest to snag the @Cheetah handle on Twitter was also one of the fastest athletes in the United States: Tyreek Hill.
Hill’s been known for his speed dating back to his college days at West Alabama and even before. It’s part of the reason that the 5-10 wide receiver has exceeded all expectations to become one of the top wideouts in the NFL for the Kansas City Chiefs. To say that Hill is only a speed demon is oversimplifying things, but it’s hard to watch Hill play without reaching the conclusion that Hill is indeed very fast.
Here’s everything you need to know about just how fast Hill is compared to other NFL players, along with whether he’s actually any match for a cheetah in a race.
What is Tyreek Hill’s 40-yard dash time?
In 2016, Hill didn’t participate in the NFL Combine due to a domestic violence arrest. That meant the only time he would be clocked in the 40-yard dash was at West Alabama’s Pro Day.
Hill ran a 4.29 second 40-yard dash at his Pro Day. That was a faster time than any of the 2016 NFL Combine participants.
Only three active NFL players ran faster 40-yard dash times at the NFL Combine than Hill did at his Pro Day: John Ross (4.22 seconds), Henry Ruggs (4.27) and Marquise Goodwin (4.27). Notably, former Titans running back Chris Johnson ran a 4.24 second 40-yard dash at the 2008 NFL Combine.
How fast is Tyreek Hill in NFL games?
Hill lives up to his speedy reputation in NFL game action, too. In the 2020 season, he had the fifth-fastest running speed with the ball recorded by the NFL’s Next Gen Stats service. On a 44-yard yard receiving touchdown in Week 14, Hill topped out at 21.91 miles per hour.
That’s not the fastest speed Hill has reached on an NFL field, though. In 2019, Damien Williams ran for a 91-yard touchdown for the Chiefs. On the play, Hill stood out because he ended up outrunning Williams down the field in excitement for the touchdown.
Hill’s recorded speed on that play, according to Next Gen Stats, was 22.6 miles per hour. If he had been carrying the ball at that speed, it would’ve been the fastest speed recorded for a ball carrier in 2019.
In addition, Hill had two of the top-10 ball carrier speeds in 2018 (21.95 mph and 21.78 mph), two top-10 speeds in 2017 (21.64 and 21.35) and the top two speeds in 2016.
Hill’s 2016 rookie season was the first year that Next Gen Stats tracked ball-carrier speeds publicly. On an 86-yard kickoff return touchdown, Hill reached a top speed of 22.77 miles per hour, good for second that season. It was only topped by Hill himself.
The fastest speed Hill has ever been recorded with the ball in his hands on an NFL field came in Week 2 of his rookie season. On a 27-yard kickoff return, Hill reached a speed of 23.24 miles per hour. It was only 27 yards by the book — no one but a flag was catching Hill at the fastest speed Next Gen Stats has ever recorded.
— Not Patrick Mahomes (plz win Chiefs) (@PatrlckMahomes) July 22, 2020
Is Tyreek Hill as fast as a cheetah?
Despite all of that Tyreek Hill speed, he’s not as fast as a cheetah. Just watch this magnificent creature run. Its prey doesn’t stand a chance.
Cheetahs are the world’s fastest land animal. They can reach a speed of 69.5 miles per hour in just three seconds, according to National Geographic, which adds that “its body has evolved for speed, with long legs, an elongated spine, adapted claws to grip the ground and a long tail for balance.”
Hill would need a serious head start to beat a cheetah in a race. And if Hill ever could reach the top speed of a cheetah, NFL defenders would be in even more trouble.