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Shortest NFL players ever, offense and defense

Who was the shortest NFL player in history? NFL players come in all shapes and sizes. Some are known for their unique names, like Ed ‘Too Tall’ Jones, and others come up a bit short. This ties into our latest project, finding the shortest NFL players currently in the league and the smallest NFL players of all time.

Who is the smallest QB in the NFL? Down below, you’ll discover who the shortest NFL quarterback of all time is, in addition to many other small facts.

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Kyler Murray is the shortest NFL quarterback right now

kyler murray
Credit: Jenna Watson/IndyStar / USA TODAY NETWORK

Some might wonder, who is the shortest QB in the NFL? That honor belongs to none other than Arizona Cardinals starting quarterback Kyler Murray who measures in at 5-foot-10 1/8″. Carolina Panthers QB Bryce Young also measured in at 5-foot-10 1/8″, making him the same exact height as Murray. Both No. 1 picks, we’ll see how Young fares during his rookie season under coach Frank Reich with the Carolina Panthers.

The two QBs measure a half-inch shorter than Denver Broncos starting QB Russell Wilson, the next smallest starting quarterback in the NFL.

Both Murray and Wilson signed massive contracts prior to the start of the 2022 season. Murray agreed to a five-year, $230 million contract after reaching the Pro Bowl in two of his first three seasons. Wilson, who won a Super Bowl in 2013, signed a five-year, $242 million contract. Clearly, their height hasn’t prevented either one from becoming starting QBs in the NFL.

The shortest QB in NFL history title belongs to Eddie LeBaron. Measuring 5-foot-7, ‘The Little General’ is believed to be the shortest quarterback to ever start in the NFL.

Related: NFL QB Rankings

Shortest current NFL player belongs to Deuce Vaughn

NFL: New York Giants at New England Patriots
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Who is the shortest player in the NFL? Dallas Cowboys rookie running back Deuce Vaughn. After becoming the 212th pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, at 5-foot-5, the former Kansas State running back has taken over duties from J.J. Taylor as the shortest player currently in the NFL.

Taylor was not only the shortest football player in the NFL in 2022-23, he was also the shortest running back in football. Taylor measures 5-foot-5 1/4″, just a quarter-inch taller than Vaughn.

The shortest running back in NFL history is Vaughn, but a player later on this list could technically qualify as well.

Related: NFL power rankings

Shortest defender currently in the NFL stands just 5-foot-7 7/8

NFL: New England Patriots Minicamp
Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

What NFL position is the smallest? Usually it’s either running back, wide receiver, or cornerback. These positions require the most speed and lateral agility, so players of a smaller stature tend to stand out, believe it or not.

There are several candidates who might deserve the title of being the shortest defender in the NFL. Several active NFL defenders are officially listed at 5-foot-8, but sometimes people like to tell small fibs about their true height.

As best as we can tell, New England Patriots defensive back Myles Bryant is the shortest active NFL defender, measuring 5-foot-7 7/8″ according to his numbers from the NFL Combine.

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‘Mighty Mouse’ is the shortest NFL defender of all-time

To play defense, you need to be able to tackle opposing ball carriers. Which today would mean bringing down the hulking 6-foot-3, 247-pound Derrick Henry. Luckily, the shortest NFL defender of all time, Mark McMillian, never had to face Henry’s wrath.

Measuring 5-foot-7, ‘Mighty Mouse‘ played in 127 games at cornerback during his six-year pro football career.

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Jack Shapiro is the shortest NFL player ever

Who is the shortest NFL player ever? The smallest football player is said to have been Jack Shapiro, who stood 5-foot-1 and weighed 119 pounds. It’s safe to say Shapiro wouldn’t have had a very long career with the size, strength, and speed of today’s NFL athletes.

To be fair, Shapiro’s career wasn’t very long back in 1929, either. He played in one game, but still, he did it. This makes Shapiro the shortest football player ever in an NFL game. Who says you’re not big enough to play pro football?

Related: NFL teams that have never won a Super Bowl

Who is the shortest player in the NFL Hall of Fame?

Retired NFL halfback Tommy McDonald, at 5-foot-9 and 172 pounds, became the smallest player inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1998, but other, smaller HOF members have since joined him, including the 5-foot-8 Barry Sanders in 2004.

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