Trevor Lawerence, Justin Herbert, Nick Foles, and Jacob Eason are in a four-way tie for the tallest quarterback in the league for the 2022 season. 
Mike Glennon was the previously tallest quarterback at 6’7,” but was not on an NFL roster in 2022.
I’m David, and as a former 6’4” quarterback, I learned there are a few pros and cons to being a tall signal caller. In this article, we’ll be reviewing how a quarterback’s height can affect their performance and if we can project a quarterback’s future success by their listed height.
Is it possible that a quarterback can be too tall? Let’s dive into it.
- Four quarterbacks were listed at 6’6” in 2022: Justin Herbert, Trevor Lawerence, Nick Foles, and Jacob Eason.
- The tallest quarterback in NFL history was Dan McGwire at 6’8,” but made just five career starts. 
- Recent data suggests that height is not the most critical variable in projecting a quarterback’s success.
Does Quarterback Height Matter?
When you hear people talk about a quarterback “specimen,” they’re often envisioning a tall, big-armed quarterback that can see over big offensive linemen and fire passes down the field. And being taller does have its advantages, especially in the pocket. Teams with taller quarterbacks don’t have to worry as much about creating “passing lanes” that the quarterback can see through to locate open receivers.
Read more: WHO IS THE SHORTEST QUARTERBACK IN THE NFL?
Being mobile like Kyler Murray can help a shorter quarterback find these passing lanes, or move outside of the pocket where he isn’t impeded by tall linemen.
But that doesn’t explain Drew Brees, who was a pocket passer with minimal athleticism while measuring just 6’0.” Yet, for a short period, he was the NFL’s all-time leading passer. There’d been other short quarterbacks before Brees, most notably Doug Flutie at 5 ’10,” but no one that came close to dominating like Brees.
Brees made up for his physical shortcomings and mediocre arm strength by being one of the most accurate quarterbacks in NFL history. This combined with his quick release and deceiving defenses with his eyes or a well-timed shoulder fake compensated for his weaknesses. 
So it’s possible for a “short” quarterback to be successful. Jalen Hurts is just an inch taller than Brees for example, albeit with a much more athletic profile. The margin for error is simply smaller for quarterbacks in that 6-foot bucket than they are for Patrick Mahomes or Joe Burrow who stand a couple of inches taller.
Can a Quarterback Be Too Tall?
While Herbert and Lawrence are two of the brightest young quarterbacks in the game, many of the other tall quarterbacks haven’t enjoyed as much recent success. Quarterbacks like Mike Glennon and Nick Foles are also listed at 6’6,” and while both have had moments of success, neither has been able to sustain a career. The tallest QB in NFL history is former Seahawks quarterback Dan McGwire who measured 6’8.” He played just five years in the NFL, starting five games total. 
But while short quarterbacks face some unique disadvantages, is it possible for a quarterback to be too tall?
As of 2020, 23 quarterbacks have measured 6’5” or taller since 2000. Just three have lasted long enough in the NFL to start 50 games. That number improves slightly when you add Justin Herbert and Trevor Lawerence to the list, but it does suggest some sort of upper limit to a quarterback’s height. 
“The days of five-step, seven-step [drops], showing off your arm, putting up big statistics, [winning] Gatorade Player of the Year, national honors, all that stuff [are over],” said scout Joey Roberts in an interview with theringer.com. 
More essential now are mobile, quick-twitch quarterbacks capable of moving out of the pocket, keeping plays alive with their legs, and being able to make up for broken plays with their athleticism. 
Taller quarterbacks are less likely to have these sorts of traits, but it’s not unheard of. Josh Allen and Joe Burrow for example ranked near the top of the league in 2022 in a variety of passing metrics and both can be considered tall quarterbacks at 6’5” and 6′ 4.” 
Allen especially is known for his ability to move despite his size, and at 240 pounds, can be a nightmare to bring down in the open field.
He reminds me a lot of former Vikings quarterback Daunte Culpepper who measured 6’4” and 260 pounds. 
Like Allen, he was incredibly mobile and just as likely to make plays with his legs as his cannon arm.
So tall quarterbacks can be mobile like smaller, shiftier quarterbacks like Lamar Jackson and Jalen Hurts, there are simply fewer of these types of athletes. And as the NFL continues to evolve, it’s more important for a quarterback to be mobile than big. But if you have a quarterback that has both skill sets, you’ve got yourself a perennial MVP candidate.
Height certainly plays a role in a quarterback’s success, but finding that sweet spot between “too tall” and “too short” is a needle NFL teams are constantly trying to thread. I love that there’s no magic combination of height and weight that will lead to a successful quarterback career. There are so many variables that trying to analyze just one or two without context is impossible, adding to the mystique of the sport.
If you were scouting quarterbacks, would you go for a Trevor Lawerence-type? Or would height not factor as much in your evaluation, instead focusing on arm strength, accuracy, or athleticism? Let us know how you’d identify your perfect quarterback in the comments below.