Rookie Tyreek Hill Proves He's the Fastest Player in the NFL

The rookie fifth-round pick shined for the entire country on Sunday night

There's always so much made about a player's 40-yard dash time. 

That's the old school generic way of determining how a player ranks against others when it comes to who might be the fastest.

The problem with that is a 40-yard dash is it's normally run in shorts at college pro days or the NFL Scouting Combine. It's not truly a fair representation of a player's "game speed," which is the only thing that really matters.

One of the greatest receivers in NFL history, Jerry Rice, reportedly ran a 4.59 40-yard dash before the 1985 draft, and he turned out to be pretty good and didn't have much trouble getting separation for Joe Montana and company.

How fast does a player run in pads with guys chasing him down with the ball in his hands? That's what matters.

On Sunday against the Denver Broncos, the Kansas City Chiefs' rookie fifth-round pick, Tyreek Hill, who reportedly ran a 4.24 40-yard dash at his pro day last Spring, hit a top speed of 22.77 miles per hour during his 86-yard touchdown return midway through the second quarter.

So when it comes to proving who the fastest player is between the white lines, which is all that matters, Hill tops the list, and he spoke after the game about the return that showed his "Cheetah-like" abilities.

"I was just looking at 36 [Broncos Cornerback Kayvon Webster] because he's a playmaker," Hill explained. "So the return was away from him. I set it up towards him and then broke right. I had [fullback Anthony] Sherman and [tight end Demetrius] Harris in front of me. Those guys, big bodies, so ain't nobody getting around them.

"Everybody did a good job blocking."

It was the first touchdown of the game for the Chiefs and came on the ensuing punt following Justin Houston's safety. It gave the Chiefs a 9-0 lead midway through the second quarter.

That return was one of three times Hill found the end zone on Sunday, and each came in a different way.

Hill became the first player to record a touchdown rushing, receiving and by way of a kick return in a single game since Pro Football Hall of Famer Gale Sayers accomplished the feat against the Minnesota Vikings on October 17, 1965.

Hill did something that hadn't happened in a half-century.

"They told me after the game and I was like, 'Man, that's great,'" Hill explained of joining Sayers with that performance. "Everybody is congratulating me, but it's more than just me out there on the field. I've got teammates, and those guys did a great job helping me weave my way through traffic and creating lanes for me to use my speed.

"I've got to give a shout out to all those guys just believing in me, motivating me."

Hill has proven to be more than just a speedy returner this season. He leads the Chiefs with five touchdowns receiving and ranks second on the team with 45 receptions (Travis Kelce, 57).

"With [Jeremy] Maclin out there's opportunities for other guys to step up," quarterback Alex Smith explained of Hill's emergence. "He has more on his plate but he's handled it really well. He's a big part of what we are doing."

Perhaps the two biggest plays of Hill's young career came in succession at the end of regulation of Sunday's game.

Trailing by eight points and facing a fourth-and-10 from the Broncos 14-yard line with 19 seconds left in regulation, Smith found Hill on an 11-yard out route on the far left side of the field.

The Broncos brought a blitz with one of the most physical safeties in the league, T.J. Ward, and Smith stepped into the throw staring down the barrel of Ward coming free off the edge, and Smith hit Hill in stride.

Hill's speed and quickness were on display as the cornerback, Bradley Roby, had to respect Hill's ability to get past him, got caught with his weight on his heels and Hill broke to the outside before the ball was in the air.

**

**It was one of the most important throws of the season from Smith, as without thinking twice, he threw in the direction of the rookie. Just a play later, Hill would catch a 3-yard touchdown from Smith, which set up the game-tying two-point conversion.

"I just go out there and play," Hill said after the game. "Whatever they want me to do, I'm going to do it. I'm here. I'm going to make the play. If the ball comes to me, I'm going to make the play. If it doesn't, I'm full-speed [anyway]."

What Hill has done since being draft last spring by the Chiefs has impressed head coach Andy Reid.

"I'm proud of him for everything," Reid explained of Hill after the game. "Probably more off the field than on the field, but he had a nice day."

"It definitely feels good," Hill added. "I really don't know what to say, but it feels good. Just to be on an NFL team, it's a dream. I just want to thank God, my parents, the coaches—this organization just for believing in me."

Making plays on primetime was a nice way for Hill to introduce himself to the country.

"It's definitely a come out party on Sunday Night Football. It's definitely fun because the whole country was watching."

Hill's introduction to the country may have been a surprise to those who hadn't paid attention to the buzz he created for himself going all the way back to rookie minicamp last spring, but those who are around him every day aren't surprised by this at all.

"It's hard to explain without people [not] believing what you're saying," tight end Travis Kelce explained of Hill. "I was going into training camp and I was telling everybody that there's this kid – literally a kid, he's young, tiny and looks like a high school kid running around out there – but when I tell you that he flies, the guy flies around and you can't touch him. He was taking bubble screens to the house in seven-on-seven, you're not even allowed to block in seven-on-seven.

"It's exciting to see him progress and now everyone knows who he is. He's the MVP of the Sunday Night Football game against the defending champs, your name is out there now. It's cool to see him grow and see him do things, but the sky is the limit for him.

"We can't wait to see what he does next."


With his performance on Sunday night, Hill is up for the NFL's "Pepsi Rookie of the Week." Fans can vote for Hill by following this link.

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