The 49ers’ Marquise Goodwin has a good, though perhaps not foolproof, argument that he is the fastest wide receiver in the NFL.
According to Sportradar, Goodwin reached a maximum speed of 21.68 mph during a Week 9 game against the Arizona Cardinals, the fastest time recorded by a wideout in 2017.
Goodwin, a former track star who competed in the 2012 Olympics in the long jump, reached full throttle on a first-down play at the end of the first quarter when he blew past defensive backs Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu down the middle of the field for a 55-yard reception. Goodwin even outran C.J. Beathard a bit; the quarterback’s heave was slightly underthrown and Goodwin had to slow down to grab it, which allowed the Cardinals defensive backs to catch up. The speed was recorded by computer chips embedded in players’ shoulder pads.
But the title of “NFL’s fastest receiver” needs an asterisk.
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While Goodwin’s dash was the fastest offensive play by a receiver, the Browns’ Ricardo Louis was slightly speedier during a Week 6 game against the Houston Texans. Per Sportradar, Louis topped out at 21.88 mph while trying to chase down Texans cornerback Johnathan Joseph following an interception.
The highest speed recorded this season, according to a New York Times story on the subject, was reached by Cowboys safety Byron Jones in Week 11. He hit 22.11 mph trying to catch Eagles running back Jay Ajayi, which he did.
Others who clocked in better than Goodwin were Patriots cornerbacks Malcolm Butler (22.07) and Johnson Bademosi (21.72) as well as Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette (22.05) and Rams running back Todd Gurley (21.98).
Goodwin’s 55-yard catch was his second longest of the season – he had a dramatic, 83-yard score the following week – and he led the 49ers with 962 receiving yards in 2017. A vicious blow to the head knocked him out of the season finale in Los Angeles and prevented him from reaching the 1,000-yard mark.
The 49ers players voted Goodwin the winner of the Len Eshmont Award, the team’s highest honor.