In the age of analytics, NFL teams have figured out exactly what they need at each position. And at the most important position, quarterback, they’ve spared no expense at defining what makes a star player.
There are some flaws that teams are willing to work around. Tom Brady is famously slow. But that’s proven to be okay. Slowness can be made up for with decision-making and a strong arm. Likewise, a weak arm can be balanced out by ability to move in the pocket.
But there’s one thing that cannot be changed: height. There’s no diet, workout regimen, or program to teach a player to be taller. So it’s been a widely held belief that a quarterback simply needs to be tall, preferably a few inches over six feet.
It’s not hard to see why a quarterback needs to be tall. Many of the linemen in front of him are six foot six or taller and he needs to be able to see over them. There are exceptions like Drew Brees, at six feet tall, which have done just fine. But in general we just don’t see short quarterbacks. That’s why it’s so surprising that the number one pick in this year’s draft could be five foot 10 Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray.
Exception to the Rule
The Arizona Cardinals have the number one pick this year and it’s rumored that they might use it to get Murray. Despite his short stature, he won the Heisman, passed for 4,361 yards and rushed for 1,001 yards last season. The Oakland Athletics also drafted him in the first round. This means that if does indeed go in the first round of the NFL draft, he could be the first person ever to be drafted in the first round in both football and baseball.
With such an impressive resume, Arizona is correct to look past Murray’s height. There’s no doubt that he can figure out how to use his many other strengths to compensate for his one potential flaw.