In the rich history of the National Football League (NFL), there have been several towering figures who stood head and shoulders above their opponents. These players, with their exceptional height, brought a unique presence to the game. Let’s take a look at 10 of the tallest NFL players of all time and explore their careers, achievements, and impact on the sport.
- Richard Sligh (7’0″): Richard Sligh, standing at an impressive 7 feet tall, had a brief NFL career. He played for the Oakland Raiders in 1967 but struggled to make a significant impact, resulting in limited playing time. Despite his size advantage, Sligh’s career did not reach the heights many expected.
- Dan Skipper (6’10”): At 6’10”, Dan Skipper has played as an offensive tackle for multiple teams, including the Dallas Cowboys and Detroit Lions. While primarily serving as a backup, Skipper’s towering frame has provided additional pass protection on the offensive line.
- Morris Stroud (6’10”): Morris Stroud, another 6’10” giant, made his mark as a tight end for the Kansas City Chiefs from 1969 to 1974. Known for his remarkable reach, Stroud was a reliable target in the passing game, utilizing his height advantage to make difficult catches.
- Ed “Too Tall” Jones (6’9″): Ed “Too Tall” Jones is one of the most iconic tall players in NFL history. Standing at 6’9″, Jones played as a dominant defensive end for the Dallas Cowboys from 1974 to 1989. He was a key contributor to the Cowboys’ success, winning three Super Bowl championships and earning three Pro Bowl selections.
- Jared Veldheer (6’8″): Jared Veldheer, at 6’8″, played as an offensive tackle for multiple teams, including the Oakland Raiders, Arizona Cardinals, and Denver Broncos. Throughout his career, Veldheer displayed solid pass-blocking skills, providing quarterbacks with added protection.
- Calais Campbell (6’8″): Calais Campbell, currently playing for the Baltimore Ravens, has established himself as one of the premier tall defensive linemen in recent years. At 6’8″, his imposing stature, combined with exceptional skill and leadership, has earned him multiple Pro Bowl selections and accolades throughout his career.
- Bryant McKinnie (6’8″): Bryant McKinnie, a 6’8″ offensive tackle, had a successful NFL career that included stints with the Minnesota Vikings, Baltimore Ravens, and Miami Dolphins. He contributed to the Ravens’ Super Bowl victory in 2012 and earned a Pro Bowl selection during his time in the league.
- Jonathan Ogden (6’9″): Jonathan Ogden, widely regarded as one of the greatest offensive tackles in NFL history, stood at an imposing 6’9″. He spent his entire career with the Baltimore Ravens from 1996 to 2007, winning a Super Bowl and earning 11 Pro Bowl selections. Ogden’s dominance and skill solidified his place in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
- Andre Smith (6’8″): Andre Smith, a 6’8″ offensive tackle, played for multiple teams, including the Cincinnati Bengals, Minnesota Vikings, and Arizona Cardinals. While his career can be considered average overall, Smith had productive seasons and provided valuable pass protection during his tenure.
- Jake Long (6’7″): Jake Long, standing at 6’7″, was the first overall pick in the 2008 NFL Draft by the Miami Dolphins. As an offensive tackle, he showcased exceptional skills and was named to four Pro Bowl teams. However, injuries plagued Long in the latter part of his career, limiting his overall impact.
The NFL has seen a collection of towering athletes who have utilized their exceptional height to make their mark on the game. From dominating defensive linemen to imposing offensive tackles, these players have brought a unique presence to the field. While success and impact varied among these 10 tallest NFL players of all time, their towering figures will always be remembered in the annals of football history.
1. What is the average height of NFL players? The average height of NFL players can vary slightly from season to season. However, historically, the average height for players in various positions ranges between 6 feet to 6 feet 3 inches (approximately 183 to 190 centimeters). Positions like offensive and defensive linemen tend to be on the taller end of the spectrum, while positions like running backs and defensive backs are often shorter.
2. Who is the tallest player to ever play in the NFL? The tallest player to ever play in the NFL is Richard Sligh, who stood an astounding 7 feet tall (213 centimeters). He played as an offensive tackle for the Oakland Raiders during the 1967 season.
3. Who is the tallest active NFL player? The tallest active NFL player is Alejandro Villanueva, an offensive tackle for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Villanueva stands at 6 feet 9 inches (206 centimeters).
4. Have there been any successful short NFL players? There have been many successful short NFL players throughout history. Some notable examples include Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees, who is 6 feet tall (183 centimeters), and former running back Darren Sproles, who is 5 feet 6 inches (168 centimeters) tall. Both players had highly successful careers and made significant contributions to their respective teams.
5. Does height impact performance in the NFL? While height can offer certain advantages, such as better reach or vision on the field, it’s not the sole determining factor for a player’s success in the NFL. Skill, athleticism, technique, and football IQ are equally important. Players of various heights have excelled in different positions, proving that success in the NFL is about a combination of talents and attributes.
6. Are taller players more likely to play certain positions in the NFL? Taller players are often favored for certain positions in the NFL. Offensive and defensive linemen, for example, are typically taller and more massive to provide size and strength on the line of scrimmage. Quarterbacks, wide receivers, and tight ends also tend to be taller to gain better visibility and reach over defenders. However, there are exceptions, and shorter players have thrived in positions like running back and defensive back due to their agility and speed.
7. Has the average height of NFL players changed over the years? The average height of NFL players has seen some fluctuations over the years. With the evolution of the game and changes in player evaluation methods, teams have sought versatile players with specific skill sets. This shift in emphasis has led to a diverse roster of players, including those of varying heights.
8. Are there any specific height requirements for different NFL positions? There are no strict height requirements for NFL positions. Coaches and scouts evaluate players based on a combination of physical attributes, skills, and football knowledge. Different positions require different skill sets, and a player’s height may factor into their suitability for a particular role, but it’s not the sole determining factor in player selection.
9. Are there any advantages to being a taller NFL player? Taller NFL players may have certain advantages, such as improved reach, the ability to see over defenders, and better leverage in certain positions. In offensive and defensive line play, height can be advantageous for blocking, tackling, and disrupting passes. However, shorter players can compensate with speed, agility, and lower centers of gravity, which can be advantageous in positions like running back and defensive back.
10. Are there any disadvantages to being a taller NFL player? While height offers advantages in some aspects of the game, taller players may face challenges in terms of flexibility, agility, and maintaining a low center of gravity. They may be more susceptible to injuries like knee or back issues. Additionally, taller players with longer limbs might find it harder to maintain balance and change direction quickly.