Usually height is more of a prevalent topic in the NBA than it is in the NFL, as it isn’t as much of a critical physical attribute as speed or strength in football. However, it doesn’t mean it can’t play a factor. When a quarterback lofts a jump ball fade pass into the end zone, it’s much more preferable to run that play with a 6’4” wide receiver than a 5’11” one. On defense, taller linemen can cause problems by lifting their arms to take away throwing lanes or tip passes. Currently, the tallest NFL player is Baltimore Ravens defensive end Calais Campbell, who stands a towering 6’8”.
Tallest NFL players
Believe or not, the five tallest players in NFL history actually would look down at Campbell, and would form a formidable pickup basketball team undoubtedly.
Let’s take a closer look at the five players who would have to tell their teammates and opponents how the air up there was.
Ed Jones, 6’9”
Perhaps no past or present NFL player’s legacy is more linked with his height than Ed “Too Tall” Jones’. With one of the most distinctive nicknames in league history, Jones completely terrorized opposing offensive lines for 15 seasons.
Born otd in 1951 = Ed "Too Tall" Jones. All American from Tennessee State, 1st overall pick in 1974 NFL Draft by Dallas Cowboys. Dominant defensive end, Super Bowl champ, 3x all pro. 6 – 0 (5 ko's) record as professional boxer #EdTooTallJones #DallasCowboys #football #boxing #otd pic.twitter.com/7QxbyC0cHc
— The Thrill of Victory (@ThrillVictory) February 23, 2021
His career high sack total ironically came in his 11th year in the NFL, where he brought down the quarterback 13 times in 1985. Unfortunately for Jones, his numerical impact on the game is a bit cloudy, since sacks and deflected passes were not tracked for the majority of his career. It’s abundantly clear though that Jones used every inch of his frame to impact the game.
Jonathan Ogden, 6’9”
Jonathan Ogden is already the answer to a unique NFL trivia question, but his height just adds to his mystique.
The Baltimore Ravens used their first ever draft pick on Ogden, a mammoth left tackle who played his college ball at UCLA.
Over and above Ogden’s claim to fame as the first Ravens selection and his skyscraper-like build, he was an incredible player.
He spent his entire career in the NFL with Baltimore, which spanned 12 seasons. He made the Pro Bowl in 11 of those years. Ogden was also named to the All-Pro team four times. Ogden was inducted into the Pro Football Hall Of Fame in 2013.
Dan Skipper – 6’10”
Unfortunately, quality of play is sacrificed as we head up this list and the official tape measure.
While Jones and Ogden will be remembered as one of greatest to ever play the game, Dan Skipper has a ways to go in order to join that company.
As the only current player on this list, Skipper’s story is still being written. He is an offensive tackle who is on the Detroit Lions, and has played all but three of his career games with the team. He’s spent a lot of time on the practice squad in his career, but might get another chance to crack the active roster under new head coach Dan Campbell.
Morris Stroud – 6’10”
Former Kansas City Chiefs tight end Morris Stroud is the first skill position player to be featured on this list.
He gave new meaning to the term “red zone target”, standing at a whopping 6’10”.
We'll never know if putting a tall person in the end zone to swat field goals will ever work.
All thanks to Morris Stroud and this weird rule. pic.twitter.com/hf0CHGtNVr
— SB Nation (@SBNation) March 23, 2018
Despite his frame, Stroud only got into the end zone seven times in his career, which spanned from 1969 to 1974. His most active year as a pass catcher came in 1971, when he caught 22 passes for 454 yards.
Perhaps Stroud’s most famous claim to fame is the rule the NFL put in place because of him. He was placed in front of the goalpost with the idea of knocking way low line-drive attempts—it’s what we know as goaltending in basketball. Because of Stroud’s effort to block field goals on the way down, it is no longer legal for a player to stand there to knock the football away.
Richard Sligh – 7’0”
The tallest player in NFL history stood a full seven feet tall.
Richard Sligh was a defensive tackle for the Oakland Raiders, who the team drafted in the 10th round of the 1967 NFL Draft.
He wasn’t much more than a flier for Al Davis’ squad, but was definitely an interesting novelty due to his massive frame.
Sligh only ended up playing in eight games for the Raiders, but his brief appearance in the league was enough to set a record that might never be broken.