Looking at the tallest player in the beautiful game of NFL, before and now.
Football has always a sport in which physicality counted. Virility is a pre-requisite, and that is brute strength, heart, and lots of athletic ability but not every player can have all in equal measure. Some are more athletic, others physical, and some are just gifted with a heart that won’t take no for an answer.
Let’s mix this with some biology now…
Height is a very important factor in sports and does have a certain influence on what sport a child decides to become a professional in, for example; basketball centers are traditionally tall players, so they can be effective in the post, but they are also amongst the slowest. Speed and agility require that you lift the entirety of your weight, and while long legs may seem like an advantage as you can cover more ground in one stride than the shorter folks, the energy requirements to do that are actually where the tall get sucker punched. Shorter athletes have less of a distance to cover to lift their bodies and hence require less energy.
So, we were saying…
Football is a game of strength, agility, speed, and being tall is really not an advantage (sorry guys, but had to be said), but it does have its perks, right?
A tall quarterback will be able to see over the scrimmage line from the pocket, his throw will fly over heads and be harder to stop. Well…ehhh… not necessarily, because he’ll most likely have a sidearm release. A shorter quarter back will actually have a higher aim, a better center of gravity to resist contact, will be able to duck easily and dodge sacks, and will have a quicker release.
Taller wide receiver? Well, may be able to catch overhead, but then he’ll have to run right?
But scratch all of that, what matters is hard work and how determined you are to live your dream, so tall athletes have to fall into the “heart” category. Here is a list of some really tall guys who did live their dream in the NFL
This 7 ft. Carolina native is quite simply the only man to ever measure 7ft in the history of the NFL. He played professionally for the Oakland Raiders after a collegiate career in North Carolina Central University. He was the 253rd pick in the 1967 draft and went on to win the AFL with the Raiders. He’d play only one season in the NFL, playing eight games in total.
Stroud was for most of his youth a basketball player, a combo center, before being drafted in 1969 by the Kansas City Chiefs. Standing at 6ft10, Stroud will be played at TE for the Chiefs, playing five years in the NFL, and winning the AFL in 1969 and Super Bowl IV. He even has a rule named after him, the Stroud Rule.
Nicknamed “Too Tall”, Ed Jones was part of the legendary Doomsday Defense of the Dallas Cowboys that terrified the league in the 70s. standing at 6 ft. 10 or 6 ft. 9 (depending on who you talk to), both arguments still make him the tallest player to play in the DE position in the NFL. A two-time All Pro, Jones’s playing career started at a time when sacks were not yet an official stat, and went on into the 1982 season when they did. He officially has 57 career sacks, while the “unofficial” number, per the NFL’s archives is 106.
Naturally an Offensive Tackle, this Michigan native does however stand as the tallest player in NFL history at the Center position, and he needed just one game to do it. Drafted by the Oakland Raiders 69th overall in 2010, Veldheer started at center for the Raiders in the 2010 season, where he became the tallest center in the NFL. He would play only one game at that position and will be moved back to OT. He now plies his trade with the Denver Broncos.
At Tackle there are a few names we could throw in here, but Jonathan Ogden takes the cake simply because his career made it an even sweeter feat for someone his height. The 6 ft. 9 All-Pro played 12years in the NFL, making the Pro-Bowl 11 times, and is easily one of the best to ever do it at his position. He played his whole career for the Baltimore Ravens and retired in 2007. A deserving Hall of Famer.
Nowadays we have more and more taller athletes in the NFL and in pro sports in general. Today in the NFL there is;
Rated the sixth-best quarterback entering into the 2012 NFL draft, Osweiler is a 6 ft. 7 “ballslinger” who won the SuperBowl with the Denver Broncos in 2017. The Idaho native now plays for the Miami Dolphins and is the tallest QB player in NFL today.
At 6 ft. 9, this decorated one-time Captain in the United States Army can add being the tallest Tackle in the NFL to his life accomplishments. He plays for the Steelers, and was selected for the Pro Bowl in 2017.
Picked 59th overall in the 2013 draft by the Bengals, this 31-year old Estonian is part of a trio of players who stand as the tallest in the NFL today at the Defensive Tackle position, at 6 ft. 8. He played three years for the Bengals, before moving to Indianapolis in 2017.
Three-time Pro Bowl selectee, First-team All-Pro, two times second-team All-Pro, and then DPOY in 2017, Calais Campbell has become quite a force in the NFL, and his 6 ft. 8 height which stands as the tallest amongst active Defensive Ends in the NFL today probably has something to do with it, or maybe he’s just a consummate professional who gives his all.
After a collegiate career in Stanford, Toilolo was drafted by the Falcons in 2013 in round 4 of the draft. Moving on from the Falcons in 2017, he now plays for the Detroit Lions, towering at 6 ft. 8 as one of the tallest at the Tight End position in today’s NFL.