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Shane Bacon

Is short the new trend in the NFL?

Shane Bacon
Shutdown Corner

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If you've paid any attention to the NFL this season, you know a guy named Danny Woodhead(notes) is making waves for the New England Patriots. The Pats picked up Woodhead after he was released by the Jets, and they really started including him in the offense when Randy Moss(notes) was traded. Experts and announcers rave about him all the time for being things like "tough" and "gritty," but the truth is, Woodhead is successful because he's quick and small.

Yep, small. That's a word you probably never thought would be a compliment in the NFL, but as the season continues to go on, being small might be the new advantage. As players continue to grow muscles in places that regular humans didn't even know was possible, maybe being small is helpful. Think I'm using the 5-foot-7 Woodhead as the only example? Look at some of the other stars this season that might get questioned before riding a roller-coaster.

Brandon Banks(notes) is one of the shortest players in the NFL (listed at 5-7), and look at some of the things he's done with the Washington Redskins.

[Related: NFL's top five wide receivers under six feet tall]

DeSean Jackson(notes), listed at 5-foot-10, is in the discussion as the most explosive receiver in the league, making a career out of outrunning the secondary when he gets in the open field. He is listed at 175 pounds, but I think we can all agree that might be an exaggeration, as he is shifty enough to elude even the quickest of defensive backs.

Mike Tolbert(notes), Maurice Jones-Drew(notes), Ray Rice(notes) and Michael Turner(notes) are all listed around the 5-foot-10 mark, and have been compared to trying to tackle a bowling ball, as their quickness and short, stout frame make it hard to wrap up, and bring down.

Along with Woodhead on the Pats, is 5-9 Wes Welker(notes), who has made a career out of catching short passes over the middle and being sneaky as a go-to wideout.

[Related: Number of 300lb lineman ballooning]

All of this really comes down to a guy like 5-6 Darren Sproles(notes), who spent most of his career backing up another great running back in San Diego. He's finally got his chance to be the star, and the guy I've always dubbed The Hummingbird, for his quick feet and small stature, is always making a difference for the Chargers, and seems nearly untackleable when he gets the ball past the front line.

Would all these guys pay to be 6-foot-3? Sure, who wouldn't want to be a little taller in a league that seems to nearly require it, but for what they've been given, all of the names, along with others, have become a threat to tall players everywhere.

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