With the “shocking” revelation that Johnny Manzeil is 5-foot-11, the media will be analyzing if Manziel can be successful in the NFL for the next several months.
While height can be an indicator of success in professional football, it is by no means an absolute science at predicting the future success of a quarterback. While some teams may be wary of a smaller quarterback, Russell Wilson is proving that talented players can lead an NFL team even when they do not fit into the common perception of what a quarterback should be.
Fantasy football players and NFL team owners are in the same boat of deciding whether or not Manziel would be a good fit on their roster. How effective Manziel will be in fantasy football will revolve around the team he plays for and how quickly he learns the offense, but will his height also be the factor in his fantasy football success?
I compiled a list of the heights of the top 10 highest scoring fantasy football quarterbacks in standard scoring leagues in 2013, and here are the players and heights: Peyton Manning 6-foot-5, Drew Brees 6-foot, Cam Newton 6-foot-5, Andrew Luck 6-foot-4, Andy Dalton 6-foot-2, Phillip Rivers 6-foot-5, Matthew Stafford 6-foot-3, Russell Wilson 5-foot-11, Colin Kaepernick 6-foot-4 and Tony Romo 6-foot-2.
As you can see from the list, there are only two quarterbacks who are under 6-feet tall. The common perception of smaller quarterbacks is that they are unable to see past the line and will not be able to have a full vision of the field. Teams also worry about the durability of small quarterbacks as they generally weigh less than a prototypical quarterback, and teams are concerned that they may not be able to adsorb hits as well as the bigger players.
The smartest players in sports, however, find ways to adapt. Manziel is able to use his footwork to compensate for his size, and he is also able to adapt to situations quicker than other quarterbacks out of necessity. For those defensive players who love to follow the gaze of the signal caller, not having the height of Joe Flacco can become an advantage because a smaller quarterback will not have to worry about giving away the receiver he is targeting. Manziel will also have something to prove to everyone who doubts him because of his height, and this can motivate him to a top 10 fantasy football scoring title among his fellow quarterbacks.
While it may seem that Manziel is at a disadvantage, do not be afraid to draft this future star. Brees and Wilson prove that height is not a factor if a player works hard and is talented.