10 Shortest Players in NFL History: Size Doesn’t Matter!

shortest players

Welcome to the world of the shortest players in NFL history! As you embark on this exhilarating journey, you’ll discover that size doesn’t always determine success in the league. These pint-sized powerhouses have defied the odds, making a significant impact on the field and inspiring fans worldwide. So, let’s dive into their stories and find out how these incredible athletes have proven that size truly doesn’t matter!

Key Takeaways

  • Celebrate the incredible feats of the shortest players in NFL history, who have defied size stereotypes and made significant contributions to their teams!
  • Short NFL players prove that determination and hard work can lead to success regardless of size – inspiring stories like Darren Sproles & Tarik Cohen are proof!
  • The impact of short players on football is undeniable – they demonstrate agility, speed & adaptability which has a huge impact on the game.

Smallest Players Of The Game

10. Andrew Hawkins (5’7″)

Andrew Hawkins

Despite being one of the shortest NFL players, Andrew Hawkins has had a remarkable professional football career.

His college success was impressive and after signing with several teams including the Rams, Bengals, and Browns over three seasons he managed to rack up an incredible 824 yards on top of two touchdowns in his best year yet!

This proves just how much determination pays off. Even shorter athletes can make it big as pros. It’s clear then why this wide receiver is held in such high regard among other NFL stars, no doubt due to his sheer talent for agility across field pitches too!

9. Maurice Jones-Drew (5’7″)

Maurice Jones-Drew, measuring a mere 5’7” is one of the greatest running backs in Jacksonville Jaguars’ history. His accomplishments defy his size and they talk for themselves, during his 8 years playing with the team he made 3 Pro Bowl appearances as well as set records.

Notably, 2011 was his biggest year when 1,606 rushing yards were registered along 11 touchdowns scored!

This goes to show that even though stature might not play an important role at all times, it clearly did not matter much in Maurice’s case since he achieved so significantly while being part of NFL teams throughout these seasons.

8. Mark McMillian (5’7″)

At just 5’7, Mark McMillian was fondly referred to as “Mighty Mouse” and this sixth round draft pick proved that size doesn’t matter when it comes to skill in the NFL.

Known for his impressive agility and quickness on the field, he made an incredible 23 interceptions over 9 seasons – 8 of which were recorded in 1997 alone (earning him top spot for interception return yards).

Despite having a shorter stature compared to other cornerbacks, Mighty Mouse showed us all what can be achieved with sheer talent.

7. J.J. Taylor (5’6″)


At only 5’6”, J.J Taylor is the smallest current NFL player who plays as a running back and a kick returner and specialist for the New England Patriots. Despite his small stature, he has made an impression in professional football through his talents and determination on the field.

In just two seasons with the league so far, Taylor participated in 11 matches accumulating 147 rushing yards and three touchdowns plus two touchdowns scored.

His performance during 2020’s rookie season was remarkable considering that he had 23 attempts but still managed to average 4.8 per carry – showing that size isn’t necessarily of concern when it comes to succeeding at this level of sport competition .

6. Jakeem Grant (5’6″)

Jakeem Grant

Standing only 5’6”, All-Pro return specialist Jakeem Grant has been a prominent figure with the Miami Dolphins since 2018. In spite of the criticisms that his size would render him defenseless against larger receivers, he’s shown himself to be an undeniable presence on the football field.

His powerful tackling and heightened awareness have earned him recognition as one of NFL’s most impactful players. Accumulating 740 tackles, 32 turnovers – including eight interceptions-, two defensive touchdowns and 71 deflected passes over five seasons in his career thus far..

5. Tarik Cohen (5’6″)

Tarik Cohen

The 2017 NFL Draft saw Tarik Cohen, a 5’6” running back taken in the fourth or fifth round, by the Chicago Bears.

The incredible heights that he was able to reach with his hard work and determination culminated with him earning first-team All-Pro honors as well as being selected for Pro Bowl recognition during just his second season playing there.

At present, Cohen is continuing to excel while competing for Carolina Panthers. Again showing us all that when it comes down to success on an NFL stage size does not necessarily matter so much afterall.

4. Jacquizz Rodgers (5’6″)

jacquizz Rodgers

The NFL has seen its fair share of short players, such as Jacquizz Rodgers who stood at 5’6”. This former player played for four seasons for the Atlanta Falcons, Chicago Bears, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New Orleans Saints over four years in his career as a running back.

Even with shorter stature than most other athletes on the field he had an impressive 1,116 yards rushing along with 10 touchdowns to show for it — proving that even smaller-bodied individuals can make their mark in this competitive sport. His legacy encourages all smallest of NFl Players around him that they too have what it takes if put into action!

3. Darren Sproles (5’6″)


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A post shared by Darren Sproles (@dsproles43)

Darren Sproles, a 5’6” retired NFL player with an incredible ability to use his size as leverage on the field had quite the career playing for San Diego Chargers, Saints and Philadelphia Eagles.

He totaled up more than 11 thousand combined kickoff and punt return yards To posting impressive stats of 553 receptions/4,840 receiving yards/32 touchdowns through out his professional football journey.

His success reached its peak when he won Super Bowl LII while being part of Philly’s roster back in 2017 which is Proof that hard work pays off no matter what your physical stature may be!

This inspiring story acts as motivation around the world reinforcing that regardless how tall you are or aren’t – great things can still happen if one continues pursuing their goals with unwavering determination

2. Trindon Holliday (5’5″)

Trindon Holliday, at just 5’5”, is an impressive kick and punt returner who has accomplished incredible feats in the NFL.

Despite his height disadvantage that was often seen as a hindrance to success within professional football games, he proved otherwise throughout his six-season career playing for teams such as the Broncos, Giants 49ers Raiders and Buccaneers.

Holliday holds records spanning categories including kickoff kick return yards, touchdowns made via kicking returns, number of punts returned successfully, distance covered through returning Punts, total amount of yardage regained after making successful kicks or catches on attempted plays.

His accomplishments indicate that even those perceived by most standards as being among ‘the shortest’ can still compete strongly with more substantially built players when it comes to competing against one another in college or NFL matches alike – instilling hope into others who may have similar hopes but feel they lack certain advantages due to their size/build etcetera .

1. Jack Shapiro (5’1″)

jack Shapiro

Jack Shapiro, the shortest NFL player ever recorded at 5’1”, played just one game, as a fullback for the Staten Island Stapletons in 1929.

His experience in professional football serves to illustrate that physical size is not always indicative of potential success on the field. His unique position in league history demonstrates how determination and passion can outweigh any other factor when it comes to being an NFL athlete.

Shapiro’s legacy reminds us that anyone has a chance at making their mark on pro-footballing, regardless of stature.

Shortest Players by Position

The NFL is full of examples that disprove the notion that size matters. Even though they’re some of the smallest players in league history, many have enjoyed major success.

Short quarterbacks such as Doug Flutie and Russell Wilson played key roles on their teams while Darren Sproles and Maurice Jones-Drew excelled at running back positions despite their stature. Wes Welker and Steve Smith were standout wide receivers despite being two of the shortest ever to compete in an NFL game.

Even defensively talented Trindon Holliday or Tyrone “Muggsy” Bogues made headlines with interception returns for huge gains due to nothing more than pure speed alone, regardless if it was short distance runs!

All these cases demonstrate why we should focus more attention towards a player’s capabilities rather than one’s height when discussing football performance – something seen throughout nfl history right up until present day.


Kyler Murray and Bryce Young stand at the same height of 5 feet 10 1/8 inches, which make them currently be the shortest quarterbacks in all of NFL.

Regardless their stature Both players demonstrate that ability is more influential than size when it comes to success on the field. Showing that one doesn’t need excessive physical traits to reach such an esteemed level.

The two have managed with great skillfulness to surmount any possible obstacles due solely by being short and still earn a spot within America’s most popular sport league.

Running Backs


Despite their lack of physical stature, NFL players such as Deuce Vaughn and J.J Taylor have proved that they can still be successful on the gridiron.

They haven’t let size stereotypes hold them back from succeeding in football. Instead these short backs make use of their speed, agility and determination to prove themselves in a game typically dominated by taller opponents.

The success achieved by athletes from special teams like Deuce illustrate that height isn’t everything when it comes to excelling at America’s favorite sport – the National Football League (NFL).

Wide Receivers

Deonte harris

At the NFL combine, Jakeem Grant and Deonte Harty have demonstrated that even though they may be some of the shortest players in professional football, size does not limit their abilities.

Through speed and agility these two athletes have shown how individuals can use their stature to their advantage instead of being deterred by it.

Consequently, despite expectations due to physical features such as height or weight restraints stemming from traditional parameters set for certain roles on a team. These men are proving just what impactful contributions can come out shorter-statured nfl players regardless if its through offensively driven aspects like wide receiving or defensive ones.

Defensive Players

NFL history was made by the smallest defensive player, Mark McMillian. Proving that physical dimensions are not always critical for success on the gridiron.

Even though he lacked size compared to his contemporaries, McMillian succeeded in making plays and solidifying a place among some of the top players ever seen in professional football.

This proves just how important versatility and agility can be over sheer stature when it comes to performing at an elite level within this iconic league.

Overcoming Size Stereotypes

Short NFL players have often had to deal with prejudice because of their height, like being seen as less competent than taller ones. They managed to go against these stereotypes by emphasizing what they do well and cultivating a strong work ethic. Utilizing their small stature to great effect too.

These athletes are proving that in the world of American football, size doesn’t necessarily predict success. Their drive has allowed them be successful in spite of any preconceived notions which defy conventional wisdom around standing tall (literally).

Inspirational Stories 

The inspiring tales of the NFL’s shortest players, such as Darren Sproles and Tarik Cohen, is a reminder that dedication to excellence on the field can pay off. For instance, Sproles was hailed with several prestigious awards including second-team All-Pro selection three times and Pro Bowl honors multiple occasions.

Similarly, Chicago Bears’ star player, Tarik Cohen achieved first team all pro recognition in his sophomore season along with an invitation to participate at Pro Bowl level football competition..

These remarkable stories highlights just how much these smaller athletes are capable of despite their physical size– showing everyone who has dreams or ambition for competitive sports that they should never be hindered by preconceived notions regarding height limits!

Personal Anecdotes from Players

Many of these pint-sized powerhouses have shared stories of their journey to the NFL, providing a personal touch to their professional achievements.

Take Darren Sproles, for instance. He often recounts how he was always the smallest kid on his youth football teams. He used to hear whispers from the sidelines, doubting his ability to compete because of his size.

But Sproles never let it bother him. Instead, he used it as fuel to push himself harder. He would say, “Every time I heard someone say I was too small, I would work twice as hard. I wanted to prove them wrong.”

Then there’s Tarik Cohen, who shares a story about his first day at the Chicago Bears training camp. He was mistaken for someone’s kid because of his height. Rather than being embarrassed, Cohen laughed it off and said, “I may be short, but I play tall.”

And let’s not forget about Maurice Jones-Drew, who was often overlooked by scouts because of his height. He recollects, “I was always told I was too short to play running back. But I knew I had the heart and the drive to prove them wrong.” And prove them wrong he did, becoming one of the most successful running backs in Jacksonville Jaguars’ history.

These personal anecdotes serve as a testament to the determination and resilience of these shortest NFL players, reminding us all that size doesn’t define one’s potential for greatness.

Their Impact on the Game

Impact on the game

In the NFL, short players are making their presence felt with amazing feats of speed and agility that they bring to their teams.

These athletes show size doesn’t have to be an obstacle as demonstrated by how much influence they possess on the game – ultimately contributing valuable versatility due to being able utilize unique strategies and skills otherwise untapped by larger opponents.

By playing in various positions around the pitch these mini-giants prove hard work beats any shortcomings one may face height wise, presenting a powerful case for diligence over mere physique yielding tremendous success regardless of stature..

It is clear small players provide great impact in football proving measurements don’t always dictate greatness or determine who will win. Dedication plays just as important role if not more than physical strength does.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is the 5 8 football player?

At just 5’8” and 205 lbs, Bob Sanders is making his mark as one of the most impressive strong safeties in football today. Despite not having quite the same stature as many other players on the field, he has been able to make incredible use of this advantage and continually dominates every game he participates in.

Who is the 5 5 player in the NFL?

Deuce Vaughn is the shortest player in both NFL combine and overall history, measuring 5’5” making him one of the smallest players ever to play in the NFL.

Who was the shortest QB in NFL history?

Eddie LeBaron has established himself as the NFL’s most memorable pint-sized quarterback, standing at an incredible 5’7”. His nickname ‘The Little General’ attests to his impressive accomplishments in pro football, including four Pro Bowl selections and two All-Pro honors.

He was even inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1980, a first for any QB.

Despite this remarkable success in college career, many still overlook Eddie due to his stature. It hasn’t stopped him from making history within both college and professional ball alike!

Who is the shortest NFL player position?

The NFL Draft of 2024 saw Dallas Cowboys take on Deuce Vaughn as their 212th pick. This 5’5” running back is currently the shortest among all active NFL players, and has replaced J.J Taylor in his role with the team ever since.

As one of its most miniature members, he continues to prove that no matter how small an individual might be physically – it doesn’t stop them from dominating on a grand stage like professional football!

How have short players overcome size stereotypes in the NFL?

Short NFL players have turned size stereotypes around by showing that height is not the only factor to success; hard work, focus on strengths, and using their size to their advantage has allowed them to reach peak performance and stand out on the field.


It is evident that size does not define success in the NFL as evidenced by some of its shortest players who have made an impression and become fan favourites. 

These dynamite athletes managed to excel despite their short stature, thanks to sheer hard work and a lot of determination, making it clear that other attributes like skill can also play important roles on the field when combined with effort.

It’s inspiring how these remarkable sportsmen challenge preconceived notions about what it takes for one to be successful in America’s most popular football league: The National Football League (NFL).

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