A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away, superstars of the NFL were supposed to be the biggest, baddest, fastest guys in the NFL. Now the tides are shifting and the short kings are beginning to reign supreme.
As I sit and type this, two of the shortest starting QBs in the NFL are battling it out on Thursday Night Football. One is short, built like a brick shithouse and drinks magical recovery water. The other I’m still not convinced isn’t an actual little person. Every time I see Kyler Murray, it takes me a second to realize that he’s actually finessed his way into being an elite QB. Not that he’s in any way not good, the talent is certainly there, but while Russell Wilson is built like a brick shithouse…Kyler is built like a John Elway fever dream. In a world Elway wishes was run by people 6’4″ and taller, Murray and that 5’10” frame finds himself atop most people’s MVP list.
Being a starter in the NFL, especially at QB, always felt like a “you must be this tall to ride this ride” situation. Hell, guys get drafted out of college solely because they’ve got “an NFL frame”. While that has certainly been historically accurate, the short kings of the last few seasons are proving the NFL ride no longer has a height requirement.
The league still does have that weird hand size fetish, though. I’m not one to kink shame so…do you boo boo.
Traditionally a “short king” would be anyone 5’9″ and under but since this is the NFL we are talking about, exceptions can be made for someone like Wilson. At a generous 5’11” he was literally passed up because he was too short in a league already being dominated by the ruler of all NFL short king QBs…Mister Drew Brees himself. Don’t get it twisted though, while Murray and Russell may be short kings sitting upon that sweet, sweet MVP hype pedestal, there’s plenty of other short kings who need their recognition as well.
Maybe the shortest of the short kings this year would be rookie running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire of the Kansas City Chiefs. At 5’7″ he may be one of the only people in the league that Kyler doesn’t have to look up to. Don’t let his size fool you though. His 810 yards from scrimmage are 11th best in the league and his 14 broken tackles on rushing attempts places him 8th in a league and ahead of bigger backs like James Connor and Melvin Gordon. Clyde might be 5’7″, but he’s 6’7″ with the ball in his hands.
Another rookie short king running back is James Robinson from Jacksonville. Where tf did this dude come from?! Coming into the league at 5’9″, undrafted and not really knowing how he’s gonna fit in. Now here we are 10 weeks in and 917 yards later. Fourth in the NFL in yards from scrimmage. FOURTH. His 689 rushing yards are also good for fifth in the league. And still doesn’t have a card in Madden Ultimate Team smh. Much like Clyde though, Robinson doesn’t let preconceived notions about his size define him. Sure, a tape measure says he’s a short king, but can a tape measure do this?
Arguably the best short king receiver in the NFL would be Kansas City’s polarizing Tyreek Hill. His short king power of super speed sets him apart from the rest of the league. Try all you want but you wont keep up with this guy. He’s like the flash but, you know, shorter.
(For the record, Barry Allen aka “The Flash” was 6′ tall)
With his super speed and agile cheetah like abilities, Hill has proven that size doesn’t matter if they cant catch you. Through 9 weeks, Hill has managed 651 yards and a league leading 9 touchdown receptions. He’s also got a rushing touchdown to his name. Oh ya, the dude can jump out of the gym too.
At 5’10” (on a good day), Hill continually defies the odds. In a league dominated by big receivers like DK Metcalf, Julio Jones and Mike Evans, Hill always finds a way to stand out.
Although at the end of the day size will always be a major factor in projecting how successful a player will be in the league, it’s refreshing to see such dominant players with such a small stature. They may never be able to reach the top shelf at the grocery store, but that’s not stopping them from reaching the heights of NFL stardom.