Tallest NFL Players At Each Position Throughout History
Last updated August 2018 – Our article about the shortest NFL players was so popular, we figured we’d follow-up with the tallest NFL players in the game. Learn more about the tallest players at each position below!
Dan McGwire – 6’8″, 240lb
The brother of prolific baseball-hitter Mark, Dan McGwire wanted to make a name for himself in the NFL. Standing at six feet eight inches put him head and shoulders above the rest, but his stats didn’t show it. McGwire went 2-3 in his time as a starting quarterback over five seasons with a 2/6 TD/INT ratio. He was a first round pick in 1991, pulled by the Seattle Seahawks 16th overall. Fun fact, he also had 9 total fumbles in 1994.
Runners-up: Mike Glennon (6’6″), Paxton Lynch (6’7″), Guy Gilbert Gibbs Jr. (6’7″)
Tallest Wide Receiver
Harold Carmichael 6’8″ – 225lb
When you’re this tall, you should be able to sky any defensive back right? Correct! Harold Carmichael did just that for 10+ seasons in the NFL with a league-leading 1,116 yards receiving on 67 receptions in 1973. He also finished in the top ten receiving touchdown category, 8 different times and was a four-time Pro Bowler.
Runners-up: Evan Moore / Darren Waller 6’7″
Tallest Offensive Lineman
Dan Skipper – 6’10”
Dan “The Man” Skipper is a giant fellow. As an Arkansas Razorback, he blocked a school-record three field goals in his freshman year. In January of 2018, he signed a Reserve/Future contract with the Detroit Lions as a tackle after only playing in one game last season. One year into his career, will this lanky Lion ever see the field again?
Runners-up: Trenton Brown (6’9″), Jonathan Ogden (6’9″), Bob St. Clair (6’9″)
Tallest Down Tackle
Richard Sligh – 7’0″ – 300lb
Sligh played a total of eight games in his career, all of them in 1967 with the Oakland Raiders. Past that, football historians don’t seem to have much to say about the tallest man to ever play in the NFL.
Runners-up: Cornelius Lucas (6’9″), Ernie Ladd (6’9″)
Tallest Defensive End
Too Tall Jones – 6’9″, 270lb
Probably the most famous big man of them all, Too Tall Jones played his entire career with the Dallas Cowboys. He celebrated a victory in Super Bowl XII against the Denver Broncos. Three Pro Bowls and 57.5 sacks across his career kept Jones in the league for 15 years.
Runners-up: Charles Philyaw, Jerry Wilkonson – 6’9″, Doug Atkins – 6’8″
Ted Hendricks – 6’7″ 220lb aka “The Mad Stork”
With four safeties and 26 INTs to his name, the Mad Stork was a nightmare for offenses. Hendricks won four Super Bowls in his career, was voted into eight Pro Bowls and has a bust in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. His height helped him block 25 field goals and snag 16 fumble recoveries over the span of his career. While being touted as one of the smartest in the game, he was definitely an odd bird.
Runners-up: O’Brien Alston (6’6″), Larry Ball (6’6″)
Brandon Browner – 6’4″, 221lb
Once you get into defensive backs it’s a bit hard to determine who is the largest as most of the positions end up being somewhat interchangeable over a player’s career. Browner cut his teeth in the CFL before getting picked up by the Seattle Seahawks in 2011. Unfortunately he peaked his first year in the NFL, snagging 6 interceptions for 2 touchdowns and a Pro Bowl nod. Browner was last seen in a Saints uniform in 2015 where he started every game and set an NFL record for penalties (24). He retired in 2017.
Runners-up: Richard Sherman (6’3″, 195lb), Ahkello Witherspoon (6’3″, 198lb)
George Iloka – 6’4″, 225 lbs
Cincinnati Bengals free safety George Iloka is the Bengals starting safety and looks to be that until 2021 as he’s currently on a 5-year deal signed in 2016. While not the best safety in the game, Iloka is pretty consistent and has started all of his games where he was not injured. Iloka was fined $36,464.50 in 2017 after this illegal hit on Antonio Brown.
Runners-up: Otto Schnellbacher (6’4″ – 1948-1951), Nnamdi Asomugha (6’3″ – 2003-2013)
Tallest Tight End
Morris Stroud – 6’10” – 255lb
You know you’re tall when they name a rule after you. Morris Stroud is the tallest tight end to ever play in the NFL and was used in an interesting way. Stroud would line up to defend field goals by sitting under the crossbars in an effort to then jump up and swat the ball away before it could go through the uprights. The NFL didn’t take kindly to this tactic and installed the “Stroud Rule” that states:
“Goal tending by any player leaping up to deflect a kick as it passes above the crossbar of a goal post is prohibited. The referee could award 3 points for a palpably unfair act”.
While the rule seems to have been put in place after the Chiefs used Stroud in this way, it actually dates back to at least 1962, when Baltimore Colts R.C “Alley Oop” Owens actually blocked a field goal in this way during a game against the Redskins. There is no record of Stroud ever successfully blocking a kick in this fashion. Best part, Owens was only 6’3″.
Runners-up: Harold Carmichael (6’8″), Martellus Bennett (6’6″)
Tallest Running Back
Bert Coan – 6’5″, 220lb
What is it about the Chiefs and having the tallest players in the NFL. Seems like, at least in the 60s, they were height supremacists. Bert Coan played from 1962 to 1968, racking up 1,259 yards and 15 touchdowns. Coan is also known for having on of the fastest 100-yard dashes, clocking in at 9.4 seconds (the world record appears to be 9.1).
Cornelius Joseph Dennis O’Donoghue – 6’6″
Good ol’ Cornelius, referred to as Neil, was a nomad placekicker who played nine seasons in the NFL. The Irish-born kicker found his home in St. Louis and had an okay career. His lifetime field goal percentage was only 59.3% and his longest field goal was 52 (he does still share the record of longest kick in Auburn Tigers history at 57 yards). O’Donoghue’s biggest moment came in 1984 when he set the St. Louis Cardinal’s record for most points in a season with 117.
Runners-up: Joe Nedney (6’5″), Mike Vanderjagt (6’5″)
Pat McInally – 6’6″
He’s got legs. He knows how to use them and man are they long. McInally was a punter and “wide receiver” for the Cincinnati Bengals from 1976-85. I say “wide receiver” because the Bengals decided to use him in from 1977-81 as a wideout. He racked up 808 yards total, so nothing overly impressive. He had the 10th most punts blocked and has the only perfect score on the Wonderlic, a perfect 50 out of 50. Here is his induction highlight reel for the College Football Hall of Fame.
Runners-up: Jordan Berry (6’5″), Gary Collins (6’5″)
If we missed anyone, let us know and we’ll add them to the Honorable Mentions list.
- John Krahn – 7’0″, 380 pounds – College Offensive Line and Running back from time to time
- John “House” Taylor – 6’11”, 500 pounds – Minor League Defensive Tackle – Central Penn Piranhas
- LaQuan McGowan – 6’11”, 410 – Tight End, Offensive Line – Carolina Cobras