Professional football is packed with some of the biggest, fastest, and most powerful people on Earth. But is there any room for short athletes in the NFL? “Who is the shortest NFL player“? Let’s find out!
Height is regarded as an advantage at most key positions in pro football. Scouts and coaches adore tall quarterbacks who will scan the area with ease, a lengthy lineman with huge wing lengths, and scrawny recipients that may high-point passes in the endzone. Some of the very dynamic and memorable players in league history, however, have measured in below the perfect height for their position.
Who is the shortest NFL player?
1. Trindon Holliday — 5’5″ — 162 lbs
A kick return specialist, Holliday conducted his way to 2 total punt return touchdowns and two total kick returns. He’s no Josh Cribbs, however with smaller legs, it’s tough to blow past everybody. Holliday has been out of the league since 2015.
2. Boston Scott – 5’6″ – 203 lbs.
Boston Scott is in his third season in the NFL and after spending some time on the practice group, Scott totaled 721 all-purpose yards and ranked second on the team with five rushing TDs in 2019. Now playing the second chair to Miles Sanders, Scott is the shortest active running back from the NFL.
3. Nickell Robey-Coleman — 5’7″ — 169lbs.
While Robey-Coleman is just one of the smallest DB’s latest NFL history, he’s had a decent career in the NFL, logging 178 tackles. Following a three-year stint with the Bills, he is currently with the Rams playing second fiddle to the 6’2″ Trumaine Johnson.
4. Jack” Soupy” Shapiro
Officially recognized as the shortest player to ever play in what would become the NFL, Shapiro saw action in just one professional game. The tiniest NFL player suited up for the Staten Island Stapletons in 1929 and hung around on the roster for a total of five games. Though he never attained superstar status, he helped pave the way for shorter players for a long time to come.
5. Darren Sproles
The NFL’s quintessential “short man,” Sproles was loved, and effective, at each step along with his lengthy NFL career. What he lacks in height he makes up for in strength and aggressive fire. Sproles, among the shortest NFL running backs ever, has been giving opposing teams nightmares for years as a runner, receiver, and kick returner — to the tune of three Pro Bowl selections and a Super Bowl ring.
6. Tarik Cohen
Running backs in the NFL take a beating play in and play outside, but that has not stopped Cohen, at only 5’6″ and 181 lbs, from light up the scoreboard throughout his career. Drafted by the Chicago Bears in 2017 as a fourth-round pick, Cohen quickly carved out a role for himself on offense and has since turned into a Pro Bowl and AP All-Pro Team selection.
Interesting fact: On a hint play during his rookie season, Cohen became the shortest NFL player to throw a touchdown pass in almost 100 years.
7. Andrew Hawkins
Andrew Hawkins’ NFL dreams appeared to have been crushed when he went undrafted in the 2008 NFL draft. However, he signed to the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League and also starred for the franchise within the course of the next two seasons, making a path back into the NFL.
He had been picked up by the Los Angeles Rams at the beginning of 2011 but waived midway through. He then led to the Cincinnati Bengals at which he put on a few notable displays. A stint with the Cleveland Browns followed closely, with Hawkins creating a total of 31 appearances for the Browns, tallying 1424 yards across four seasons.
8. Maurice Jones-Drew
It’s difficult to dismiss Maurice when you think of talented but short NFL players. Following a decorated college career where he had 6 touchdowns of 40-plus yards, Maurice Jones-Drew was drafted in the second round of the 2006 NFL Draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars.
He had a phenomenal rookie season, even coming close to winning the Offensive Rookie of the Year award. However, he narrowly missed out on quarterback Vince Young of the Tennessee Titans.
Jones-Drew who wasn’t essentially the shortest NFL running back at that time met success in 2011 when he finished as the NFL leader in rushing. In addition, he broke numerous franchise records that year and accounted for 47.7percent of the Jaguars’ total yards.
9. CJ Anderson — 5’8″
Anderson is one of the more rotund short guys and he’s been nailing it during the 2018 season with the Rams as Todd Gurley’s backup. He awakened over a thousand yards in 2017 for the Broncos until they introduced him. Anderson has had some trouble with his weight and during the summer of 2014, weighed 243 pounds. Irrespective of weight, his prestige and mindset will be helping the Rams get deeper into the playoffs. Heading to the 2020 season, Anderson is a free agent.
10. Jacquizz Rodgers
Rodgers might have a pretty memorable title, but he is also famous for being a highly decorated college running back and a fruitful pro who left the most of his size.
Standing at 5’6″ and just over 200 lbs, Rodgers was a well-built runner having an ideal mix of speed, quickness, and power. He may have become a family name or a Super Bowl champ, but he rushed for over 2,000 yards in his NFL career — which is greater than many of his taller colleagues can say.
It is uncommon to find NFL players under 5’11” and 200 lbs or so. But some of the most treasured fan-favorite players of all time are short of stature. Perhaps it’s the underdog, everyman vibes we can’t help but root for. Maybe being short in a league of giants is its competitive edge. Or maybe we just want to see short men get a win occasionally.