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"You're a RAGING anti-short-ite. . ." (1 Viewer)

pinequick

Footballguy
From Yahoo NFL Draft article (10 rising/10 falling)

Referring to Maurice Drew: "He had a huge performance at the NFL Combine that has moved him into the mid first day area. Despite his lack of height (5'7"), he has the ability to be a complete NFL feature back with fine hands and the talent to run both inside and outside."

Would anybody disagree with me that being short is actually an *advantage* for a runningback in the NFL? If being short also means that your are small/wispy, then sure, that's a bad thing. But being short doesn't mean that you cannot be thick--as I think Drew is. What (other than it may traslate into more weight) is the advantage for an NFL RB at being tall? Shorter players should have more leverage and be able to "hide" behind blockers better. They also ought to have a lower center of gravity for running/pass blocking.

In short, I don't think it is an educated knock on a player to simply say "Oh, he's short. That's not good for an NFL RB." Thoughts?

 
Being short may be a disadvantage as a pass-receiver. Possibly as a blocker.

As a runner, I don't think it's a disadvantage directly. It probably limits overall size potential, however. Most of the every-down RBs in the league are 220+, and it's hard for a 5-7 guy to get there while maintaining his speed and quickness.

 
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Being short may be a disadvantage as a pass-receiver. Possibly as a blocker.

As a runner, I don't think it's a disadvantage directly. It probably limits overall size potential, however. Most of the every-down RBs in the league are 220+, and it's hard for a 5-7 guy to get there while maintaining his speed and quickness.
Pass-catching is the only one I might sort of agree with, but most RBs aren't running patterns where they're having to go up and battle CBs or LBs for jump balls. But maybe being a smaller target is harder for a QB to hit on a swing or screen? Maybe. . .As for blocking, "low pad wins", right? Again, I get the whole "weight" argument--but give me a marginally smaller low-center-of-gravity guy vs. a bigger upright runner/blocker anyday.

 
Stars like Faulk have been "too short" but their awesome vision and anticipation made the height almost irrelevant. IMO Drew has to be that special to be successful as an everydown back.

 
Being short may be a disadvantage as a pass-receiver. Possibly as a blocker.

As a runner, I don't think it's a disadvantage directly. It probably limits overall size potential, however. Most of the every-down RBs in the league are 220+, and it's hard for a 5-7 guy to get there while maintaining his speed and quickness.
Pass-catching is the only one I might sort of agree with, but most RBs aren't running patterns where they're having to go up and battle CBs or LBs for jump balls. But maybe being a smaller target is harder for a QB to hit on a swing or screen? Maybe. . .As for blocking, "low pad wins", right? Again, I get the whole "weight" argument--but give me a marginally smaller low-center-of-gravity guy vs. a bigger upright runner/blocker anyday.
Yeah, but low pads don't win if the pass rusher can simply step over the guy.
 
As for blocking, "low pad wins", right? Again, I get the whole "weight" argument--but give me a marginally smaller low-center-of-gravity guy vs. a bigger upright runner/blocker anyday.
If you're comparing smallish Denver lineman to big DTs maybe but we're talking about a guy that is significantly smaller and can be "tossed" out of the way.
 
Being short may be a disadvantage as a pass-receiver. Possibly as a blocker.

As a runner, I don't think it's a disadvantage directly. It probably limits overall size potential, however. Most of the every-down RBs in the league are 220+, and it's hard for a 5-7 guy to get there while maintaining his speed and quickness.
Weight of the top 10 backs by number of carries, 2005:Alexander: 225

James: 214

Barber: 200

Portis: 212

Tomlinson: 221

R.Johnson: 225

L.Johnson: 230

McGahee: 228

T.Jones: 220

R.Droughns: 215

Three of the top five are under 220 pounds. While it may be true that there is a perception that a larger back is better or more durable, I don't think that's been borne out by experience.

 
As for blocking, "low pad wins", right?  Again, I get the whole "weight" argument--but give me a marginally smaller low-center-of-gravity guy vs. a bigger upright runner/blocker anyday.
If you're comparing smallish Denver lineman to big DTs maybe but we're talking about a guy that is significantly smaller and can be "tossed" out of the way.
:rant: Grrr. Short does not = light.Maurice Drew = 207 lbs.

This is *without* any NFL-type conditioning programs. If he can add even 10 pounds, he is in that stereotypical range that NFL teams want in a feature back, weight-wise. Blocking is about mass (and technique, of course), not height, right?

 
As for blocking, "low pad wins", right? Again, I get the whole "weight" argument--but give me a marginally smaller low-center-of-gravity guy vs. a bigger upright runner/blocker anyday.
If you're comparing smallish Denver lineman to big DTs maybe but we're talking about a guy that is significantly smaller and can be "tossed" out of the way.
:rant: Grrr. Short does not = light.Maurice Drew = 207 lbs.

This is *without* any NFL-type conditioning programs. If he can add even 10 pounds, he is in that stereotypical range that NFL teams want in a feature back, weight-wise. Blocking is about mass (and technique, of course), not height, right?
Therein lies your problem. If Drew puts on 10 more lbs to that frame, he will greatly risk lost flexability, range of motion, quickness, speed, agility, exposivness and more than likely just become too bulky to retain the athletisism that RBs need in the NFL.
 
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As for blocking, "low pad wins", right?  Again, I get the whole "weight" argument--but give me a marginally smaller low-center-of-gravity guy vs. a bigger upright runner/blocker anyday.
If you're comparing smallish Denver lineman to big DTs maybe but we're talking about a guy that is significantly smaller and can be "tossed" out of the way.
:rant: Grrr. Short does not = light.Maurice Drew = 207 lbs.

This is *without* any NFL-type conditioning programs. If he can add even 10 pounds, he is in that stereotypical range that NFL teams want in a feature back, weight-wise. Blocking is about mass (and technique, of course), not height, right?
Like I said before, he'd have to be special IMO. I'd bet Strahan can throw 99 of 100 5-7 college RBs out of the way.It CAN be done but it's not likely, he'd have to be special.

ETA He might be. You seem like you think so and that's cool. It's just you're looking for a hypothesis or theory as to why he'll do well. IMO they're always gonna be more small guys that got beat by bigger guys when it's hashed out. For you/him/Faulk, the beauty is it's just a theory and not actual.

 
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As for blocking, "low pad wins", right?  Again, I get the whole "weight" argument--but give me a marginally smaller low-center-of-gravity guy vs. a bigger upright runner/blocker anyday.
If you're comparing smallish Denver lineman to big DTs maybe but we're talking about a guy that is significantly smaller and can be "tossed" out of the way.
:rant: Grrr. Short does not = light.Maurice Drew = 207 lbs.

This is *without* any NFL-type conditioning programs. If he can add even 10 pounds, he is in that stereotypical range that NFL teams want in a feature back, weight-wise. Blocking is about mass (and technique, of course), not height, right?
Therein lies your problem. If Drew puts on 10 more lbs to that frame, he will greatly risk lost flexability, range of motion, quickness, speed, agility, exposivness and more than likely just become too bulky to retain the athletisism that RBs need in the NFL.
Even if he doesn't add a pound, he already outweighs Tiki, and he seems to do okay as a feature back. . .
 
As for blocking, "low pad wins", right? Again, I get the whole "weight" argument--but give me a marginally smaller low-center-of-gravity guy vs. a bigger upright runner/blocker anyday.
If you're comparing smallish Denver lineman to big DTs maybe but we're talking about a guy that is significantly smaller and can be "tossed" out of the way.
:rant: Grrr. Short does not = light.Maurice Drew = 207 lbs.

This is *without* any NFL-type conditioning programs. If he can add even 10 pounds, he is in that stereotypical range that NFL teams want in a feature back, weight-wise. Blocking is about mass (and technique, of course), not height, right?
Therein lies your problem. If Drew puts on 10 more lbs to that frame, he will greatly risk lost flexability, range of motion, quickness, speed, agility, exposivness and more than likely just become too bulky to retain the athletisism that RBs need in the NFL.
Even if he doesn't add a pound, he already outweighs Tiki, and he seems to do okay as a feature back. . .
Well I'm not saying it can't be done. Only it seems that smallish RBs to excel are a rare breed is all.
 
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As for blocking, "low pad wins", right?  Again, I get the whole "weight" argument--but give me a marginally smaller low-center-of-gravity guy vs. a bigger upright runner/blocker anyday.
If you're comparing smallish Denver lineman to big DTs maybe but we're talking about a guy that is significantly smaller and can be "tossed" out of the way.
:rant: Grrr. Short does not = light.Maurice Drew = 207 lbs.

This is *without* any NFL-type conditioning programs. If he can add even 10 pounds, he is in that stereotypical range that NFL teams want in a feature back, weight-wise. Blocking is about mass (and technique, of course), not height, right?
Like I said before, he'd have to be special IMO. I'd bet Strahan can throw 99 of 100 5-7 college RBs out of the way.It CAN be done but it's not likely, he'd have to be special.
If you are a coach with a scheme that calls for *any* RB to block Strahan, it's time for a new scheme.I get the "little" knock--mass at the RB position is important (moreso for blocking than running, IMO). But I don't get the "short" knock--except that people are making a "short"-"little" correlation, which I don't think is always the case. I think that Drew has the potential to be one of those exceptions.

 
I actually view height as a negative in RBs. The only important number is weight. That's the real problem with the Drew = Sproles/Griffin comparisons. Drew is actually a pretty big dude. He's heavier than Jerome Harrison, Brian Calhoun, and Reggie Bush.

 
just from what I've seen over the years, short backs seem easier to tackle. that could be a bad conclusion on my part, though.

 
We seem to have this conversasion a lot. If I remember there was a thread last summer with the heights of quite a few RBs. As I remember, a handful of the guys listed at 5'9 were actually shorter than the listed height.

Off the top of my head, the shortest really successful NFL back I remember was Joe Morris at 5'6 with a compact build. Personally, I worry little about height and only slightly more about weight. I have not seen any consistent correlation between size and durability or production. I worry about vision, quickness to the hole and the ability to make defenders miss/breaking tackles.

 
Good topic. I've always preffered RBs under 6' and consider 5'10" ideal height. DeAngelo Williams is also getting a lot of discredit due measuring under 5'9" at the combine. They say that its a big a issue when blocking. It might be but really sounds overblown.

Outside of blocking, I dont see how being tall helps a running back. Maybe as a receiver some but not much. RBs dont often run deep routes or corner routes in the end zone. The only other way it really helps is by adding weight. However, not all backs who are taller weigh more or much more than their shorter counterparts. Taller backs tend to have less power per pound than a shorter back. Being an inch taller but only weighing 3 more pounds is IMO a disadvantage in weight.

A shorter back has less to tackle and a better center of gravity. It actually helps them hide behind the offensive lineman making it more diffacult for defenders to pick him out. A lot of short backs have had great success running the ball because of that. A taller back is more easily spotted and has more for a defender to grab onto. As a runner, I think its better to be shorter.

The only other issue with shorter backs is hand size. The bigger a player's hands, the easier time they have hanging onto the football. Tiki, for example, has had to adapt a different style of carrying the football due to his small hands causing fumbles in the past. However like weight, hand size isnt always proportional to height.

I'm sticking with my 5'10" theory. I'm sticking with my belief that Williams is near ideal size. Now maybe the NFL prefers taller. The NFL isnt as concerned with statistics as I am though. Stat history shows a high percentage of history's best statistical backs were under 6'. With a lower percentage of them over 6'. I'd say anywhere from 5'8" to 6' is ideal. When I see a 6'2" or 6'3" prospect I get skeptical.

 
What's the difference between Drew and Chad Morton?

Morton's 5-8, 203, bench pressed 225 at the combine 6 years ago 18 times; as of four years ago he could bench 425 pounds and squat 500 pounds five times.

Morton was extremely fast and quick, but never seemed to be able to make it onto the field as a RB.

I think the general perception about his short size will hold him back regardless of whether it should, and he's going to need a whole lot of intangibles to separate himself out from all the other super-athletes in the NFL.

It probably won't help much that his only three 100 yard rushing games all came against teams with losing records.

 
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I'm not a Drew supporter, but I'd like to drop this one little tidbit. Isn't Warrick Dunn about 5'8" and 185 lbs? That is much smaller than any of the "small" backs listed above and he seems to be doing quite well for himself. If Drew could get himself into the right situation and produce similar numbers to Dunn that would be all he could ask for. If I'm not mistaken, didn't it take Dunn a couple years to actually get his opportunity to prove himself? Now he's a starting RB in the NFL and has done a decent job of keeping himself somewhat injury free. On the other hand you have Darren Sproles. Sproles was considered "something special" coming out of college even considering his "smallish" stature but where has that gotten him? Punt return duty. Not what you desire from one of your fantasy RB picks.

 
I'm not a Drew supporter, but I'd like to drop this one little tidbit. Isn't Warrick Dunn about 5'8" and 185 lbs? That is much smaller than any of the "small" backs listed above and he seems to be doing quite well for himself. If Drew could get himself into the right situation and produce similar numbers to Dunn that would be all he could ask for. If I'm not mistaken, didn't it take Dunn a couple years to actually get his opportunity to prove himself? Now he's a starting RB in the NFL and has done a decent job of keeping himself somewhat injury free. On the other hand you have Darren Sproles. Sproles was considered "something special" coming out of college even considering his "smallish" stature but where has that gotten him? Punt return duty. Not what you desire from one of your fantasy RB picks.
Actually Dunn was the number one RB taken in the draft and immediately produced with around 1400 combined yards his rookie year.
 
I'm not a Drew supporter, but I'd like to drop this one little tidbit.  Isn't Warrick Dunn about 5'8" and 185 lbs?  That is much smaller than any of the "small" backs listed above and he seems to be doing quite well for himself.  If Drew could get himself into the right situation and produce similar numbers to Dunn that would be all he could ask for.  If I'm not mistaken, didn't it take Dunn a couple years to actually get his opportunity to prove himself?  Now he's a starting RB in the NFL and has done a decent job of keeping himself somewhat injury free.  On the other hand you have Darren Sproles.  Sproles was considered "something special" coming out of college even considering his "smallish" stature but where has that gotten him?  Punt return duty.  Not what you desire from one of your fantasy RB picks.
Actually Dunn was the number one RB taken in the draft and immediately produced with around 1400 combined yards his rookie year.
I was referring more to the fact that he shared carries with Alstott. During Dunn's first few years I don't think they thought he could handle a full workload and those led to some of Alstott's best years because he got quite a few carries as well as receptions. But nonetheless, 1400 total yards is a solid year.
 
Being short may be a disadvantage as a pass-receiver. Possibly as a blocker.

As a runner, I don't think it's a disadvantage directly. It probably limits overall size potential, however. Most of the every-down RBs in the league are 220+, and it's hard for a 5-7 guy to get there while maintaining his speed and quickness.
Pass-catching is the only one I might sort of agree with, but most RBs aren't running patterns where they're having to go up and battle CBs or LBs for jump balls. But maybe being a smaller target is harder for a QB to hit on a swing or screen? Maybe. . .As for blocking, "low pad wins", right? Again, I get the whole "weight" argument--but give me a marginally smaller low-center-of-gravity guy vs. a bigger upright runner/blocker anyday.
Warrick Dunn is a great receiver.
 
I was referring more to the fact that he shared carries with Alstott. During Dunn's first few years I don't think they thought he could handle a full workload and those led to some of Alstott's best years because he got quite a few carries as well as receptions. But nonetheless, 1400 total yards is a solid year.
And Dunn to this day still shares carries with Duckett when both are healthy. His team has changed and he's now playing in a zone blocking system that favors him more than a big back. Duckett has had trouble staying healthy. Dunn received more work in Tampa when Alstott was hurt just as he has in Atlanta when Duckett has been hurt. He's always proven himself but he's never been a 300 carry guy in the view of coaches. Really, that has never changed. Only the health of the big back, the team, and system has changed any. Warrick has always been Warrick.
 
What's the difference between Drew and Chad Morton?

Morton's 5-8, 203, bench pressed 225 at the combine 6 years ago 18 times; as of four years ago he could bench 425 pounds and squat 500 pounds five times.

Morton was extremely fast and quick, but never seemed to be able to make it onto the field as a RB.

I think the general perception about his short size will hold him back regardless of whether it should, and he's going to need a whole lot of intangibles to separate himself out from all the other super-athletes in the NFL.

It probably won't help much that his only three 100 yard rushing games all came against teams with losing records.
:goodposting:
 
Very interesting topic... since I own the 1.11 pick in a [DYNASTY] league and have been pondering on picking Cutler / Drew / Calhoun / Super Mario with it (our IDPs are only rewarded points for sacks & ints - explaining Super Mario's probable choice)...

I'm especially intrigued about Drew... not knowing if he'll translate to Dunn or Sproles...

In my opinion - much more than height and weight - the quickness to hit the hole, the pure speed to breakaway, the vision to see what's happening on the field, the toughness to take on blitzers and the elusiveness not to take on big hits are far more important for a RB's playing opportunities and ability to compete at a high level for a long period of time...

That being said, obviously, a guy standing 6'0" and weighting 225 that has the same toughness, technique and vision as one 5'6" and 180 will help alot more blocking blitzers...

I think that this rare combo of skills allow guys like Edge to be on the field all the time - while others, like Alexander are pulled on passing downs for example (not saying that it hurts his FF value though!)... but, as we all know, that RB will only help your FF team if he's on the field!!

This is where I'm still trying to figure out if Drew warrants a high rookie pick... does his skills (mentioned above) - and not his height - makes him a feature back in the NFL?... I can't honestly say... and would love to get others opinion on it...

my :2cents:

 
Li'l guy sneaking up draft boards.

Article seems to think the Steelers should/could take him at the end of round one. That would not address the perceived need to replace Bettis, but it would give them the return guy they lost in Randle El, and some more depth at RB. Drew can do anything FWP does, probably more.

 
Could be interesting, and I'm not writing him off until after the draft, but I heard all of these same arguments about Griffin, Sproles, etc.

If height doesn't matter at all, and in fact short, heavy players have an advantage over taller guys - where are all of the historical really short, heavy guys who have done well in the NFL? The theory makes sense, but where is the empirical evidence?

5'10" 220 seems to be ideal, and players can still be great down to 5'8 200 and up to about 6'2 240. But you just don't see guys under 5'8" making it, and Drew is under 5'7". Maybe he'll be the guy to break the mold, but that's not the kind of trend I go out of my way to buck in fantasy football.

 
Li'l guy sneaking up draft boards.

Article seems to think the Steelers should/could take him at the end of round one. That would not address the perceived need to replace Bettis, but it would give them the return guy they lost in Randle El, and some more depth at RB. Drew can do anything FWP does, probably more.
Good lord - every RB is a 1st round pick now! The Colts may have to get someone off the street to start at RB (yes, I have zero faith in D Rhodes as a starter). :wall:
 
I think the general perception about his short size will hold him back regardless of whether it should, and he's going to need a whole lot of intangibles to separate himself out from all the other super-athletes in the NFL.
Bingo.Short backs have the deck stacked against them from the beginning, because they will always be viewed as a 3rd down type of player and need to contstantly prove themselves year after year and still never given the full reigns.

Just look at Brian Westbrook...the guy is 5-9 (2 inches taller than M. Drew) and 207lb (same weight as Drew)....he has shown for 3 years in a row that he is capable of carrying the load and has proven durability, yet every single year there is talk of how the Eagles need that big, bruising back to complement him.

For whatever reason, short backs get pigeon holed into certain roles, and unless you have Barry Sanders type skills it's very hard for them to prove to teams otherwise.

 
What's the difference between Drew and Chad Morton?

Morton's 5-8, 203, bench pressed 225 at the combine 6 years ago 18 times; as of four years ago he could bench 425 pounds and squat 500 pounds five times.

Morton was extremely fast and quick, but never seemed to be able to make it onto the field as a RB.

I think the general perception about his short size will hold him back regardless of whether it should, and he's going to need a whole lot of intangibles to separate himself out from all the other super-athletes in the NFL.

It probably won't help much that his only three 100 yard rushing games all came against teams with losing records.
:goodposting:
I'm not bumping this to thump my chest--I was really only trying to start a conversation. But this evening I was looking at my league's RB rankings, and was amazed at MJD's ranking. So I remembered this thread, searched it, and saw Bri's comment--good call. :thumbup: ETA: Oops--sorry. Mis-re-read Bri's comment. NM.

 
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Jones has been great, and his tremendous lower body has translated to the football field. But whenever I watch his highlights, I see NFL players showing terrible tackling technique. As TMQ has pointed out:

Last week's column said of Jax human bowling-ball Maurice Jones-Drew, "Hey, NFL defenders, this guy is hard to tackle -- quit hitting him high and bouncing off. Go for his ankles." Game scoreless, Indianapolis linebacker Cato June had Jones-Drew in his sights, and tried to grab him around the shoulder pads. Jones-Drew bounced off, spun away for an 18-yard touchdown and the Jags' fantastic rushing day was under way. Later on Jones-Drew's 48-yard touchdown rumble, June again tried to tackle him high and bounced off. Hey, NFL defenders, this guy is hard to tackle -- quit hitting him high and bouncing off. Go for his ankles.
Now obviously the Colts can't tackle anyone, but I've seen lots of defenders use just terrible technique to wrap him up.That being said, MJD might become only the 4th player in the last 30 years to join the 100/6.0 club. And that's incredibly impressive (well, at least 33% of the current club is. :thumbdown: )

 
Jones has been great, and his tremendous lower body has translated to the football field. But whenever I watch his highlights, I see NFL players showing terrible tackling technique. As TMQ has pointed out:

Last week's column said of Jax human bowling-ball Maurice Jones-Drew, "Hey, NFL defenders, this guy is hard to tackle -- quit hitting him high and bouncing off. Go for his ankles." Game scoreless, Indianapolis linebacker Cato June had Jones-Drew in his sights, and tried to grab him around the shoulder pads. Jones-Drew bounced off, spun away for an 18-yard touchdown and the Jags' fantastic rushing day was under way. Later on Jones-Drew's 48-yard touchdown rumble, June again tried to tackle him high and bounced off. Hey, NFL defenders, this guy is hard to tackle -- quit hitting him high and bouncing off. Go for his ankles.
Now obviously the Colts can't tackle anyone, but I've seen lots of defenders use just terrible technique to wrap him up.That being said, MJD might become only the 4th player in the last 30 years to join the 100/6.0 club. And that's incredibly impressive (well, at least 33% of the current club is. :o )
I think MJD is a good cautionary tale--believe what you see. He was a really good college RB (esp. his junior year). He had all the measurables. . . except height.Not that I benefitted from any of this insight. I slept on him in my dynasty league and missed out. :goodposting:

 
As for blocking, "low pad wins", right?  Again, I get the whole "weight" argument--but give me a marginally smaller low-center-of-gravity guy vs. a bigger upright runner/blocker anyday.
If you're comparing smallish Denver lineman to big DTs maybe but we're talking about a guy that is significantly smaller and can be "tossed" out of the way.
:unsure: Grrr. Short does not = light.Maurice Drew = 207 lbs.

This is *without* any NFL-type conditioning programs. If he can add even 10 pounds, he is in that stereotypical range that NFL teams want in a feature back, weight-wise. Blocking is about mass (and technique, of course), not height, right?
Like I said before, he'd have to be special IMO. I'd bet Strahan can throw 99 of 100 5-7 college RBs out of the way.It CAN be done but it's not likely, he'd have to be special.

ETA He might be. You seem like you think so and that's cool. It's just you're looking for a hypothesis or theory as to why he'll do well. IMO they're always gonna be more small guys that got beat by bigger guys when it's hashed out. For you/him/Faulk, the beauty is it's just a theory and not actual.
Lets be fair... Strahan throws 300 lb linemen around. If 99 of 100 college RBs take him on 1-1, they'll get tossed. They don't have to be 5-7 to have that pleasure.
 
If you have the weight, build, shiftiness and speed, a lack of height can actually HELP you, at RB.

Now, Im a shortie - 5'6"... played HS and college football (only D3, recruited by some D2 schools).

Although I weighed only about 165-170, I RARELY got hit very hard. Why? because guys that were 6'+ had a damn hard time (1) catching me cause of speed and shiftiness and more importantly (2) would hardly ever get a low enough center of gravity to really get a good lick in.

So, at only 165 lbs, going against guys that arent nearly as big (including average height) as NFL players, my lack of height in a lot of ways helped my elusiveness and made it very difficult for a tackler to get a good wrap.

When you take into account the fact that a lot of these short backs are at least very quick with huge powerful legs, when a tackler who is 6 inches to a foot taller just grabs your jersey at the shoulder pad, it is very hard to bring that back down. Easy to break those tackles.

Ok, so thats my sad-sack experience... now, you go to a guy as talented as Drew.

Drew is my height (5'7" my ###) with HUGE legs and weighs in at 200+ lbs. The guys trying to tackle him are often 6'4"... thats almost a foot. With redwoods churning for legs, Drew has a huge advantage right there. You think it's easy for a 6'4" guy to wrap a 5'6" guy with those legs?

It's not. Advantage, shorty.

 
If a back has superior vision, durability and elusiveness then I think they can still excel. Tony Dorsett was only about 5'11", 190 lbs and had all of those traits plus speed, the ability to accelerate quickly and hit a hole before it could close. (Tony D in his prime could accelerate from zero to top speed faster than any back I ever saw play the game). He was basically an every down back most of his career and made the HOF, so it can definitely be done. The odds may be stacked more against smaller backs than they were when Dorsett played based on the trend towards larger defenders over time, and the fact that more and more teams use some form of RBBC, but put a really talented small guy with all those traits in an offense that can block and is willing to feature him, and I suspect he could thrive. At the least, it could be fun to watch.

 

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