Generally, when we think about NFL players, especially linebackers, an image of a massive and bulky player comes to our mind, and it isn’t just limited to regular people. Even the coaches of the NFL also look for players with a height above 6 feet and 1 inch.
However, sometimes these coaches bend their traditional selection criteria and go for smaller players who lack the build but are skilled.
Today, we will be talking about a few of the NFL linebackers who despite their small stature and short height, have made it to the NFL.
The first short linebacker we will be talking about is Sam Mills, who started his career with the Cleveland Browns as an undrafted free agent.
Mills was a talented football player, but as he was only 5 feet and 9 inches, NFL did not see him as a linebacker material.
Everyone wanted a linebacker who was around 6ft or taller and could easily see over the lineman of the opposite team.
However, Mills proved all of these theories wrong with his performance in the field and earned the nickname Field Mouse for his unbelievable speed. He was one of the star players of the Philadelphia Stars, as he was an integral part of the most feared Doghouse Defence of the Stars.
The second player on the list is the 5 ft 10 in tall London Fletcher.
Fletcher had a sixteen-year-long NFL career, where everyone called him dot.com for being continuously online with the opposite team.
The linebacker never got drafted in his professional career but still played for three NFL teams as an undrafted free agent.
Despite his shorter stature, Fletcher was still a favorite in the NFL. He was known for his impressive awareness and consistent techniques that gave him the upper hand in the games.
Another linebacker of NFL, who also has the same height as Fletcher, is Alvin Jones.
Jones has been playing for the Saskatchewan Roughriders, a team of the Canadian Football League (CFL) since last year.
However, before joining the CFL, he played for the Baltimore Ravens of the NFL for two years as an undrafted free agent.
Despite his short height, he still got a chance to play in both NFL and CFL.
While still talking about short NFL linebackers, another player on the list is the Division I-AA All-American linebacker, Joe Mays.
Mays started his professional career with the Philadelphia Eagles after getting drafted during the 2008 NFL Draft.
The skilled linebacker is just 5 feet and 11 inches tall but has proved himself as a strong defense in the field.
The Great West Conference Defensive Player of the Year had an exciting eight-year-long career, where he played for more than five NFL teams.
Like Mays, Stephen Michael Tulloch also stands at 5 feet and 11 inches. Tulloch is shorter compared to other linebackers, who are above 6 feet.
Tulloch retired in 2017 after eleven years of glorious games in the NFL.
During his NFL days, he was one of the stars NFL players. He played for many strong teams like Detroit Lions, Philadelphia Eagles, and Tennesse Titans.
To this day, Tulloch is famous for his excellent blocks and swift escapes.
Another NFL linebacker who shares the same height as Mays and Tulloch is the legendary linebacker of the Dallas Cowboys, Dat Nguyen.
The Vietnamese-American NFL star was the first-ever NFL player with Vietnamese heritage who made it to NFL and Pro All games also.
Despite his shorter stature, this
Asian NFL player was a gem to the Cowboys. He played seven seasons in the NFL, all of which were with the Cowboys.
All of these linebackers in the list are not like the regular linebackers who get scouted for the NFL. The NFL rejected these players many times because of their short height and took players above 6 feet as the perfect NFL material. Despite all the difficulties, the linebackers on the list, and many others, did not give up. Instead, they fought against the stereotypes with their talent.
These linebackers proved that talent comes before height, and with the right amount of dedication and passion, nothing can ever stop you from doing what you love.