On Wednesday, the Los Angeles Rams Twitter account posted a sponsored video showing players doing a “passing the phone” trend in which each would say they were going to give the cell to the person most likely to do or be whatever they said. One interesting pass the phone moment in that video was saying that Van Jefferson thinks he’s the fastest player on the Rams roster.
Is Van Jefferson right or is somebody else the fastest? If not Van, then who?
The very first on the phone is cornerback Cobie Durant, who says he’s passing the phone to someone who “thinks they’re the fastest on the team”, which results in Van Jefferson holding the phone next.
Clearly, Van Jefferson has expressed to his teammates that he feels as if he is the fastest player on the Rams roster, which begs the question, who is the fastest player on the team? Is it self-proclaimed fastest Jefferson? Is it Tutu Atwell? Cobie Durant? Let’s take a quick look to see what the data says.
When it comes to who the fastest player is, there are basically two different ways to measure that: In-game speed vs. track speed. In the NFL, more often than not, the speed that we see guys run in the 40-yard dash does not exactly translate to in-game speed, and it surprisingly goes both ways. For example, Cooper Kupp ran a 4.62 40 yard dash at the combine, which is very slow, relatively speaking, for an NFL wide receiver.
However, even though Kupp ran a 4.62 at the combine, he was clocked in at 20.45 MPH on his week 3 TD against the Cardinals last season, which is very fast and contradictory to the 40 time he put on record.
For arguments sake, I am not going to include any players that have not made an NFL roster before or are undrafted rookie free agents that we have very limited data on. With that being said, the first player that comes to mind, in my eyes, when it comes to speed is Tutu Atwell.
At just roughly 160 pounds, the speedster at Louisville is an absolute blazer, clocking in at 21.07 MPH is his first career touchdown against the New Orleans Saints:
Atwell did not run an official 40-yard dash at the NFL combine, but 247sports.com claims he ran an official 4.32 at his Pro Day at the University of Louisville, which is definitely some elite level speed.
The second player that comes to mind for me is Cobie Durant, who ran an official 40-yard dash time of 4.38 at the 2022 NFL Combine. On his pick six against the Denver Broncos during a Christmas Day blowout, Durant clocked in at a blazing 21.5 MPH, which was the fastest recorded speed for any player on the Rams last season:
The self-proclaimed fastest man on the Rams, Van Jefferson, actually has a really good case for himself, especially when it comes to on-field speed. Jefferson was unable to run a 40-yard dash at the 2020 NFL Combine due to a foot injury, but his performance at the Senior Bowl backed-up this notion that he is FAST. Jefferson topped out at 21.05 MPH during his Senior Bowl practices, which was faster than anyone participating that season:
Some interesting MPH data from the Senior Bowl from @ZebraTechnology.— Ben Volin (@BenVolin) May 1, 2020
New Rams 2nd round WR Van Jefferson can fly.
And while most top speeds were recorded during special teams periods, more impressive were the guys who did it during 1-on-1 and team drills. pic.twitter.com/xqYQhiBGCL
It is important to note that Devin Duvernay, who is slotted a couple spots below Jefferson’s two fastest times, ran an official 4.39 at the NFL Combine, which suggests Jefferson could have put up a very impressive number is he was able to run the 40 that year.
If these three guys (Atwell, Durant, Jefferson) were to race say in a 100M dash, I believe Tutu Atwell would win with his long speed and ridiculous burst that we have seen from him. On field, however, I believe Jefferson has a very good case, and he could very well be the fastest on the Rams in that situation.
What do you folks think, who is the fastest player on the Rams roster? Please comment your thoughts below!