2012 NFL Draft: The Best of the Smallest

Danny PaskasSenior Analyst IFebruary 14, 2012

2012 NFL Draft: The Best of the Smallest

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    Drew Brees, Darren Sproles, Steve Smith, Maurice Jones-Drew and even Doug Flutie—if you want to go back a few years—among others all produced or are producing at the NFL level in spite of their size.

    At one point or another, they were told by an analyst or a team that they were great in college, but simply not big enough to play at the next level.

    Just how many more NFL prospects are going to be dismissed, not because of their production, but because of their size?

    It doesn't matter that a QB like Kellen Moore lost a total of three games throughout his college career by a total of five points, but instead, it matters that he is only 5'11'', two or three inches too short.

    While football is a game of inches, so is the NFL draft.

    Inches can cost a player millions because of dropping in the draft specifically due to size.

    Here are the best of the smallest in the upcoming draft.

Russell Wilson

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    Russell Wilson comes in at 5'11'' and 201 lbs., and because he's not a few inches taller or a few pounds heavier, he will not even sniff the first round.

    In his senior year at Wisconsin, he finished with an 11-3 record, losing to Oregon in the Rose Bowl, 45-38.

    Wilson threw for 3,175 yards, 33 TDs and just four interceptions with a 72.8 completion percentage.

    Being a transfer from North Carolina State University proved that Wilson has the skill to master two different offenses quickly.

    He also showed his leadership abilities, taking over the Wisconsin team practically immediately.

    But his size may be a handicap, according to some

Jarius Wright

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    At 5'10', and 180 lbs., Jarius Wright is a tad undersized, especially when the NFL is getting bigger at wide receiver with the likes of Calvin Johnson, A.J. Green and Dwayne Bowe, among others.

    But even with all of the tall receivers, there is still Wes Welker, Steve Smith and DeSean Jackson.

    Wright produced big numbers at Arkansas in the tough SEC.

    In his senior year, Wright had 66 receptions for 1,117 yards and 12 TDs. He averaged 16.9 yards per catch.

    Wright has explosive speed and was named 2011 team captain.

    Let's just see how much those lack of inches are going to cost him in the draft. 

Rodney Stewart

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    Rodney Stewart is only 5'6'' and 175 lbs., but even with his lack of size, he has proven he could run the ball and catch it.

    In his senior season at Colorado, Stewart took a step back in terms of rushing the ball, only gaining 854 yards on the ground. But, he made up for it with 45 receptions for 571 receiving yards.

    In his junior season, Stewart has proved he can indeed run the ball, as he rushed for 1,318 carrying the ball for 290 times. So, he is durable also.

    Darren Sproles, a similar player to Stewart plus 15 pounds, has shown how much of a weapon he could be, as he was a difference maker on the New Orleans Saints this season, rushing for 603 yards and receiving for 710 yards.

Marquis Maze

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    Marquis Maze doesn't do anything particularly well. He's not the fastest or the most skilled, but what he is is a competitor and a pure football player.

    Maze measures in at 5'8'' and 184 lbs. What makes him so impressive is how productive he was in his senior season in the run-first offense at Alabama.

    During his senior year, he had 56 catches for 627 yards.

    His size will affect his draft position, but he seems to be a player who will work his way onto an offense as third receiver. 

Kellen Moore

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    I am amazed to see if Kellen More is going to get a legit shot as a starting QB in the NFL. If he was three inches taller, he would be a surefire first-round pick.

    Despite his size, which is debatable since Drew Brees, who is the same height with ten more pounds of muscle, which Moore can add, seems to be doing fine in the NFL.

    Can the level of his competition turn teams away? In his senior year, Moore has beaten Georgia. In his junior year, he beat Virginia Tech, and in his sophomore year, he beat Oregon. 

    Andy Dalton, out of TCU, and Ben Roethlisberger, out of the University of Miami, Ohio, were both able to make a successful transition to the NFL.

    Are three inches and a few pounds going to hold back Moore, a QB who passed for 3,800 yards, 43 TDs and nine interceptions with a 74.3 completion percentage in his senior year, from having a chance of a steady job at the next level? 

    We'll have to see.