Ask Farrell: Have QB height discussions been overblown?

Adam Gorney and Mike Farrell,
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There seems to be a theme emerging in the recruiting process, into college football and even to the NFL, where quarterback size does not matter anymore.

People point to Drew Brees and Russell Wilson having tremendous success in the pros and then former Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield being picked first overall in the 2018 NFL Draft buoyed the argument even more.

Things ramped up further last month with this argument about shorter quarterbacks in the NFL Draft when Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray went first overall after measuring at 5-foot-10 at the combine.

But is the NFL transitioning more to shorter quarterbacks - kind of point guards on the field - or is that really only a small subset at the position? A look at this most-recent NFL Draft could be telling.

After Murray, only one other quarterback shorter than 6-foot-1 was selected and it was Penn State’s Trace McSorley, who measured right at 6-feet at the combine. McSorley was the last quarterback drafted in the sixth round.

Between Murray and McSorley, the two shortest quarterbacks drafted, nine QBs were drafted including 6-foot-5 Daniel Jones, 6-foot-3 Dwayne Haskins and Missouri’s Drew Lock, NC State’s Ryan Finley and Northwestern's Clayton Thorson, who all measured at 6-foot-4.

For two-straight NFL Drafts, short quarterbacks - Mayfield and Murray - were selected No. 1 overall. But in the 2018 NFL Draft, 13 QBs were drafted and 11 of them were 6-foot-3 or taller. In this year’s draft, nine of 11 were 6-foot-1 or taller.

We ask National Recruiting Director Mike Farrell if there is far too much discussion about whether the quarterback position is really changing all that drastically and whether tall quarterbacks are still far and away the favorite of most pro teams.


“After Wilson emerged, we started to re-evaluate how size impacts the quarterback position and rankings. We took a longer look at shorter quarterbacks, so we wouldn’t have guys like Wilson slip through the cracks as two-star prospects.

"It has led to guys like Mayfield earning three-stars despite a great lack of recruiting interest and Murray being a four-star. And time will tell how Tate Martell pans out, but he was in the five-star discussion as a sub-six-footer.

"The NFL will still want bigger and taller quarterbacks under center if they can get them, but they haven’t turned a blind eye to smaller guys obviously. I think we’ll see how this trend works out over the next few years. If a guy like Murray fails or Mayfield regresses, we may see shorter quarterbacks slide further in the draft.”

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