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Tiny return men face long odds in draft

Of all the numbers produced by all the prospects at this year’s scouting combine, there may not have been any more startling than this: Kansas State wide receiver Brandon Banks stepped on the scale in Indianapolis and weighed in at 149 pounds.

Is it even possible for a man who weighs less than 150 pounds to play in the NFL? Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has a good look at the prospects of the smallest players in this year’s draft, and the comments of scouts suggest that most think it’s unrealistic to expect a 149-pounder to make it in the NFL.

“[Expletive], he’s 149,” one special-teams coach told McGinn. “Can you tell me the last guy that played at 149 [expletive] pounds in this league?”

Banks and LSU’s 5-foot-5 Trindon Holliday both have a chance of getting drafted and making it in the league as return men, but there’s plenty of skepticism about whether they’re just too small to play.

“I can’t remember anyone who came in the league that played at that height,” Indianapolis Colts President Bill Polian said of Holliday.

Still, there may be just enough interest in Banks and Holliday as return men for them to be chosen late in the draft.

“This kid can play,” one scout said of Holliday. “To say they can’t do it just because there aren’t others . . . there are always exceptions to every rule.”

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19 Responses to “Tiny return men face long odds in draft”
  1. marktg30 says: Apr 22, 2010 9:23 AM

    Holliday will be a superstar in the UFL.

  2. godfather says: Apr 22, 2010 9:23 AM

    If they’re good enough, someone will sign them as UDFAs at the very least as a camp body. They might get a shot there to raise some eye brows but anything less than a miracle will not suffice if they hope to actually be the starting returner on opening day.

  3. Chapnasty2 says: Apr 22, 2010 9:24 AM

    Ask Wes Welker about this

  4. KnuckleBucket says: Apr 22, 2010 9:30 AM

    Welker is a good example of a productive small guy

  5. realitypolice says: Apr 22, 2010 9:31 AM

    Breaking news: Trindon Holliday has just announced he is withdrawing his name from the draft and has signed a multi-year contract with the Lollipop Guild.

  6. GoBrowns19 says: Apr 22, 2010 9:32 AM

    Ice Cube McNeil!

  7. GoBrowns19 says: Apr 22, 2010 9:32 AM

    Ice Cube McNeil!

  8. jimicos says: Apr 22, 2010 9:41 AM

    Dave Meggett was 5’7″.
    Dante Hall was 5’8″.
    Darren Sproles is 5’6″.
    JJ Moses is 5’6″.
    So I don’t think height is really an issue. But none of those guys were lighter than 178.

  9. Freebird2010 says: Apr 22, 2010 9:46 AM

    Former Cleveland Brown returner Gerald “Ice Cube” McNeil came in at 5’7″ 145 lbs. He lasted five years and had a relatively modest career:
    http://www.nfl.com/players/geraldmcneil/careerstats?id=MCN553712
    That’s the only one I can think of.

  10. Buckyball says: Apr 22, 2010 9:53 AM

    Gerald McNeil was 5′ 7″, 145 and was a decent returner.
    If you can, you can. Is a bigger dude with a lot less talent really what you want?

  11. GDive says: Apr 22, 2010 10:12 AM

    Mack Herron who was an excellent return man for the Pats in the mid 70’s was about 5’5″.

  12. teke184 says: Apr 22, 2010 10:13 AM

    Holliday’s got a chance but only as a VERY late pick.
    The only way he sees the field as anything but a returner is if he goes someplace like Miami that plays a lot of Wildcat or has a coach who likes to run trick plays such as him hiding behind a huge lineman in order to disguise where the ball is, much like he’d do at LSU under Les Miles.

  13. wee2424 says: Apr 22, 2010 10:13 AM

    desean jackson…. I mean he isn’t that light. I think 170-180 but still short and light. But damn…. 149, he might get snapped in half.

  14. ShowMeYourTDs says: Apr 22, 2010 10:39 AM

    Gerald McNeil made the ProBowl in 1987

  15. Duck Fallas says: Apr 22, 2010 10:40 AM

    There weren’t 240lb special teamers running 4.5 40’s in the 70’s. Think of Jeremy Bloom. Now subtract 3 inches and 40 pounds.

  16. realitypolice says: Apr 22, 2010 11:03 AM

    Chapnasty2 says:
    April 22, 2010 9:24 AM
    Ask Wes Welker about this
    ====================
    Wes Welkers is not 5’5″ and does not weigh under 150 pounds. He’s 5’9″, 185. Pretty big difference.
    And that actually shows how far these guys are away from being big enough. Welker looks like a midget on the field, yet he has 4 inches and 35 pounds on these guys.

  17. brasho says: Apr 22, 2010 11:06 AM

    DeSean was 168 at the combine, I can’t remember which Jets’ CB was about 5’7 165 lbs, Aaron Glenn maybe… maybe it was the Eagles..
    Gerald McNeil was 14o lbs soaking wet.

  18. simple_simon1 says: Apr 22, 2010 11:19 AM

    If they can play, they can play, period. I understand the weight thing, but seriously, it’s different when you grow up always playing with big guys and learn all the way through. All through college he’d have been playing with big guys, NFL size guys, as well.
    When you’re smaller like that, there is actually less chance of getting injured. Most people don’t realize this. It’s because you’re lower to the ground and it’s harder for the big guys to get down that low to hit you. If you’re elusive, you’ll never take a straight hit either and even when you do, because of the low center of gravity, you’ll just, at worst, break a bone or something.
    It’s why Darren Sproles never gets hurt despite going through the middle. Never takes a straight hit. It’s also why smaller RB’s have so much success. Harder for the big guys to get down and grab them. I hope these guys get a chance so they can show everybody what smaller guys can actually do and maybe change a bit of bad perception in the NFL and it’s fans about what makes an NFL player.

  19. Benny Mendenberger-Ward says: Apr 22, 2010 11:49 AM

    My 12 year old son is taller than Stefan Logan, he came with some other Steelers to my high school for a basketball game a few weeks ago and my son had an inch on him when he asked him for his autograph.

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