The Tallest Football Players Ever To Play In The NFL

I am not as a big of a fan with American Football as Basketball but it seems that the issue of player size aka stature aka height does play a big role in determining whether a potential college football player would get selected in the NFL draft.

Analysis On The Player’s Sizes And Heights

Football (the American type) is the type of sport/game where the people are asked to hit each other very hard. The idea is often to push other people away in a brute strength type of competition. This means that players who are ‘big’ who have a lot of weight/ mass have a better chance of success. In general, the average NFL football player is much heavier than the average USA adult male. They are also taller too, by around 3-4 Inches, if we are to assume that the average American Male (includes only African Americans and Caucasian Americans, excluding Asian and Hispanic Communities) is probably around the 5′ 11″ mark.

The game of American Football involves a lot of mad dashes, running, and quick maneuvering. Many analysts have stated that it is actually a disadvantage to be ‘too tall” in this game since being too tall means that one has a higher center of gravity. This means that they have less balance and are more easily forced down when hit.

The result is that for most football players, their torso is often much longer and taller than the average male, but they should have shorter legs in proportion to the body.

In an old post I wrote for the website, I had proposed this idea after watching the 2008 Olympics Swimming Competition where Michael Phelps was claimed to have the perfect Olympic Swimmer since his tall stature is mainly due to his torso. Michael Phelps was said to have the upper body of a guy who is 6′ 8″ and the legs of a 6’ 0″ tall man. The post was Torso Length To Leg Length , A Personal Theory“. The people also were amazed at Michael’s eating habits, in supposedly consuming around 12,000 Calories everyday to compensate for the amount of energy he losses during each day from training in the pool. This claim was eventually proved to be false but Phelps can eat a lot.

The main point I wanted to state from that post is that for people who have large apetites and have a habit of eating a lot since childhood, it could be that the large size that they develop is mostly towards their torso, and not to the limbs. I claimed back then that the length of our limbs are determined by our genetics, and that our torso length can be modulated through our food consumption. This would make sense to explain the body shape of football players. Football players are on average about 1 standard of deviation taller, but not at the level of average professional basketball player height.

I proposed from the theory that most people can actually eat themselves to become around 3 inches taller than what they would be if they ate a normal habit in normal proportions. The result is that all of that height will go to making their torso bigger. However that type of eating habit would also mean that they have a much higher weight resulting in a wider body that will stay with them throughout life.

Proposed Theory: The body size (both height and width) of football players come directly from their childhood eating habits. Their high level of food consumption raises the blood sugar level, which results in insulin level in their body when they were children. Along with the increase in Insulin, is also the increase in IGF-1 which is named Insulin like Growth Factor Type 1, which is very similar in function as insulin. IGF-1 in the body of these big eaters gets increased, and the result is that the IGF-1 receptors of the chondrocytes in the growth plates gets stimulated more. The result from the increase of food eaten by these football players when they were younger means that they end up 2-4 inches taller than what they should be, but the height goes to their torso. While at the same time, their leg length stays the same since I propose that the length of the bones in the leg are determined by genetics. This means that later in life, these people develop the prototypical body shape of most football players, with long torsos, short legs, lower centers of gravity, and wide builds.

When Michael Phelps met Shaquille O’Neal for a friendly swimming competition on the show Shaq Vs., Shaq noted that his eatings are nothing like Phelps but he was still 9 inches taller. The food consumption habits of the two super athletes were different but their body proportions were nearly the opposite. Shaq’s height is definitely from genetics having a mother who is 6′ 2″, father who is 6′ 1″, and a claimed grandfather of being 6′ 9″. If one actually looked at Shaq’s leg length it is disproportionately longer compared to his torso, which is long. The theory can be wrong, but I state that genetics will determine how tall a person is through their limb length, especially the length of the femur, and their childhood eating habits will determine how long their torso will be, by as much as 4 inches.

Back To FootBall

If I remember correctly, the position with the tallest football players is usually the OT, Offensive Tackle. The job of the Offensive Tackle is to block and defend against. Someone once wrote that the average height of the Professional NFL Player was around 6′ 2″ – 6’3″, and weighed around 240-260 lbs, From the Wikipedia article on the Offensive Tackle, it states “In the NFL, offensive tackles often measure over 6 ft 4 in (193 cm) and 300 lb (140 kg).” From reading others sources I thought that the average height of the Offensive Tackles is probably slightly bigger, around 6′ 5″.

From an article written by the Bleacher Report entitled Tallest Players In NFL History

  • Richard Sligh – 7′ 0″ (DT)
  • Terrell Brown – 6′ 10″ (403 lbs, RT)
  • Morris Stroud – 6′ 10″ (255 lbs, TE)
  • Ed “Too Tall” Jones – 6′ 9″ (DE)
  • King Dunlap – 6′ 9″ (330 lbs, OT)
  • Jonathan Ogden – 6′ 9.5″ (Tackle)
  • Harold Carmichael – 6′ 8″ (225 lbs, WR)
  • Jared Veldheer – 6′ 8″ (C, RT)
  • Dan McGwire – 6′ 8″ (240 lbs, QB)
  • Bryant McKinnie – 6′ 8″ (OT)
  • Leonard Pope – 6′ 8″ (TE)
  • Robert Gallery – 6′ 7″ (LG)
  • Ted Hendricks – 6′ 7″ (LB)

There is currently an amateur football player named John “House” Taylor based in Enola, Pennsylvania playing for the Central Penn Piranha, a Gridiron Developmental Football League team who is 6′ 11″ and 500 lbs.

I note the interesting fact that in the most recent NFL Draft 2013 the top picks were all extremely tall individuals, in a strange descending order where the top picks were the tallest and the height dropped in the same way as the picks in the draft…

NFL 1st Round Draft Picks of 2013:

Eric Fisher Height

Draft Pick #1. Erik Fisher Player Profile Stats: (source is

  • Position: Offensive Tackle
  • Height: 79 Inches (or 6′ 7″)
  • Weight: 306 lbs
  • Arm Length: 34.5 Inches
  • Hand Size: 10.5 Inches
  • School: Central Michigan

Luke Joeckel Height

Draft Pick #2. Luke Joeckel Player Profile Stats:

  • Position: Offensive Tackle
  • Height: 78 inches (or 6′ 6″)
  • Weight: 306 lbs
  • Arm Length: 34.25 Inches
  • Hand Size: 10.125 Inches
  • School: Texas A&M

Dion Jordan Height

Draft Pick #3. Dion Jordan Player Profile Stats:

  • Position: Defensive End
  • Height:  78 Inches (or 6′ 6″)
  • Weight: 248 lbs
  • Arm Length: 33.875 Inches
  • Hand Size: 10 Inches
  • School: Oregon

Lane Johnson Height

Draft Pick #4. Lane Johnson Player Profile Stats:

  • Position: Offensive Tackle
  • Height: 78 Inches
  • Weight: 303 lbs
  • Arm Length: 35.25 Inches
  • Hand Size: 10.125 Inches
  • School: Oklahoma

Ziggy Ansah Height

Draft Pick #5: Ziggy Ansah Player Profile Stats:

  • Position: Defensive End
  • Height: 77 Inches
  • Weight: 271 lbs
  • Arm Length: 35.125 Inches
  • Hand Size: 10.25 Inches
  • School: BYU


Draft Pick #6: Barkevious Mingo Draft Player Profile Stats:

  • Position: Defensive End
  • Height: 76 Inches
  • Weight: 241 lbs
  • Arm Length: 33.75 Inches
  • Hand Size: 9.625 Inches
  • School: LSU

Disclaimer: All of the information above is from the official NFL Draft website from the article 2013 NFL Draft first-round picks’ signing status”

It is note revealed on here but the draft #7 pick of the 2013 year Jonathan is listed at 6′ 2″ and after that, is a pick at #8 Tavon Austin being only 5′ 8″. Now, being 5′ 8″ is really on the low end for such a physical game as american football, where most guys are built like tanks. However I would assume that this guy can compensate for his height through insane explosiveness, amazing speed in rushing and agility in being able to avoid being knocked down.

2 thoughts on “The Tallest Football Players Ever To Play In The NFL

  1. Lucky7

    Micheal why did you take down the k2 post and are you doing a podcast with Tyler, if so will you open a page where people can comment so you can ask him maybe some questions, will you get back to me on this one please

    1. admin

      The post was not taken down. It was replaced by newer posts. You will have to go find it somewhere in the older posts. Not sure about the podcast. Currently having technical difficulties.


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