The Senior Bowl weigh-in day is an annual NFL draft tradition unlike any other. More than 100 shirtless players stride across the stage to have their height, arm length, hand size and weight measured.
Maybe three times that number of scouts, coaches and other front-office personnel sit and watch them, like fashionistas would at the Dior haute couture spring collection runway.
It can all be very strange to the uninitiated. And some players really get into it.
— Grant Stuard (@GrantStuard_3) January 26, 2021
But it’s also considered a crucial element of the scouting process.
As a scouting director told us, they want to see the players’ dimensions and their body compositions up close as a way of determining whether they have the right proportions to thrive in a highly competitive, highly athletic league. Just because two players each weigh 230 pounds doesn’t mean that their bodies are cut the same way or that they fit a mold for their positions.
So, in short, size often matters.
And that’s why Alabama’s Heisman Trophy-winning WR DeVonta Smith declining to be weighed in at Tuesday’s Senior Bowl did draw some raised eyebrows in the scouting community. Most figure he’s in the 170-pound range, but they’ll have to wait for him to step on a scale at Bama’s pro day — if Smith chooses to do so.
But we thought we would bring you the highest and lowest numbers from all the measurements on Tuesday as a way of showing the wide range of player sizes among the 130-plus players on the two Senior Bowl rosters.
Tallest: Northern Iowa OT Spencer Brown (6-foot-8 1/2)
This FCS standout earned a lot of praise for, despite that level of football cancelling a fall season, turning down overtures from bigger schools and remaining true to the Panthers program.
Unfortunately for Brown, one of the highest-graded FCS prospects entering the season, it appears he struggled with leverage in the one-on-one drills on the first day of practice. But once he knocks the rust off, Brown has the athletic traits, smarts and work ethic to be a mid-round selection.
Shortest: North Carolina RB Michael Carter (5-foot-7 7/8)
The height is not a big knock against Carter, one of the best playmaking backs in the 2021 class. Darren Sproles, Tarik Cohen, Maurice Jones-Drew and Dion Lewis are just a handful of shorter backs than Carter who have had NFL success.
Carter packed on an impressive 202 pounds to his smaller frame, so he should be in good shape to hold up for a decent workload, even if his shorter arms (29 1/2 inches) might be a negative when it comes to handling pass protection and detaching from tight man coverage near the line of scrimmage.
Heaviest: Alabama OG Deonte Brown (364 pounds)
We might be numb to the stunning OL weight totals that populate the NFL these days. But even among offensive linemen, 364 is just a massive number. Among the nearly 7,000 prospects who have attended the NFL scouting combine since 1999, only nine have weighed more than that.
Brown is just a mass of humanity, a people mover who plays with elite power. Just as you would imagine for someone who outweighs the smallest Senior Bowl players by a factor of greater than two.
Lightest: North Carolina Central CB Bryan Mills (180 pounds)
Speaking of the smaller guys, Mills brings up the rear of this year’s group. But this is right around what scouts estimated the 6-foot-1 corner would weigh, so this was not unexpected.
And on top of that, we don’t think Mills will be out of place at the Senior Bowl despite the jump up of talent. Mills might need to get back in the flow after missing out on a cancelled season. But he’s a long-armed playmaker with a nose for the ball.
Longest: Florida State EDGE Janarius Robinson (35 3/4 inches)
We’ve seen 36- and even 37-inch prospects before, so this length doesn’t set any records. But it’s pretty darned close to the peak that you’ll see in an edge player who will be given some linebacker reps this week in practice.
Robinson had a tough opening game (from our perspective) this past season against Georgia Tech, looking a bit out of sorts in coverage and letting a few tackles slip through his arms. But the more we watched him, the more we liked his upside.
At 6-foot-5 and 266 pounds with boa constrictors for arms, there’s plenty of Robinson to like.
Shortest: South Dakota State WR Cade Johnson and Miami PK Jose Borregales (29 inches)
Never good when you’re tied with the kicker. But seriously, Johnson belies his lack of size — he’s on the smaller side at 5-foot-10 3/8 and 186 pounds — and he makes up for it with quickness and burst. Ask Minnesota fans about Johnson after he torched them for six catches for 90 yards and a 25-yard run.
But with such short of arms, Johnson’s home in the NFL almost certainly will have to be in the slot. It will be tough to separate from press coverage outside without rare, elite quickness and footwork to compensate.
Biggest: Georgia TE Tre McKitty, Western Michigan OL Jaylon Moore, Cincinnati OT James Hudson III, Iowa EDGE Chauncey Golston and Robinson (11 inches)
A five-way tie at the top! And 11 inches is nothing to sneeze at. Only two Senior Bowl players hit that number in the 2020 game, and only one from the 2019 game surpassed that mark.
Hudson is a name to watch this week. The former Michigan transfer was fantastic in his one year of starting for the top-10 Bearcats, even if he struggled a bit with penalties down the stretch and enters the draft with fewer than 800 offensive snaps. Still, he could crack the top-50 picks because scouts are enamored with his athletic traits and his punch. You know, the punch with those massive mitts of his.
Smallest: Houston WR Marquez Stevenson, Michigan CB Ambry Thomas and Kentucky C Drake Jackson (8 1/2 inches)
We did a double take when we saw this number. No, 8 1/2 is not stunningly low for the smaller guys; Hunter Renfrow measured at a stunning 7 7/8 inches when he came out.
But for an offensive lineman — especially a center — it’s a shocker. Jackson has been a fantastic center, and he reportedly shined on Day 1 of Senior Bowl practices, but we can’t recall any legitimate center prospect with hands that small.
Scouts knew Kentucky C Drake Jackson wasn't huge. And yet his height (6-1 7/8) isn't really the concerning number here.
Has some of the smallest hands (8 1/2") I can recall for a center. Also the shortest OL arms (31 1/8") at this year's Senior Bowl. Only weighed 290, too.
— Eric Edholm (@Eric_Edholm) January 26, 2021
Longest: Robinson (87 inches)
Well, we know who the designated top-shelf item grabber will be for whatever team that drafts Robinson. He could probably drive a car from the back seat … and roll up both back-seat windows simultaneously.
But seriously, 87 is just an insane number. The only NFL player we are aware of with a longer wingspan is Las Vegas Raiders OL Jaryd Jones-Smith, who measured an utterly absurd 88 1/2 inches across. That’s longer than almost every NBA player is tall.
Shortest: Johnson (71 1/2 inches)
This number isn’t big at all. But it’s not the smallest we’ve ever seen, either. Kyler Murray measured at 69, and he’s a pretty nice player.
We feel a bit bad for Johnson, a good player who just happened to be the shortest-winged player at this year’s game. But we must admit, he’s also the guy this year who seems to best anthropomorphize his team’s mascot: the Jackrabbits.
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