Short in height but not in talent

Many defensive backs are being forced to answer questions about their diminutive stature this weekend. Perhaps none moreso than Wake Forest’s Alphonso Smith, who Mike Mayock has ranked as his fourth-best cornerback.

Smith, who’s 5-foot-9, seemed somewhat uncomfortable discussing his height.

“I’ve never been this tall a day in my life,” Smith said, reaching into the air. “And I’ve gotten this far. So I can’t do anything about it. I’m going to continue to get the question four or five years later down the road. Only thing I can say is, I make plays and I’m a pretty decent player.”

Offseason workouts with Cardinals WR Anquan Boldin and Steelers WR Santonio Holmes over the past few years also have given Smith a measure of confidence that he can cover NFL receivers with size.

“Every summer, I get a chance to face Anquan Boldin and Santonio Holmes when they come home. So (the height issue) really is not much to me,” Smith said. “It’s not much of a big deal for myself, because I’m a ballplayer, and I do what I do and I do it very well.”

Another short cornerback, D.J. Moore out of Vanderbilt, echoed Smith’s sentiments while also giving him a shout-out.

Asked about the player he respects the most, Moore said: “Alphonso Smith. He’s got that ‘I’m going to pick everything off’ type of attitude.”

According to Colts president Bill Polian, height does play a role in evaulating defensive backs, but the key to overcoming that disadvantage is the vertical jump.

Check in Tuesday to see which cornerbacks have the best vertical jump, and if Smith or Moore is able to help his stock by nailing that all-important drill.

Here are the 10 shortest players at the combine:

Position Player College Height
WR Mike Thomas Arizona 5-7 7/8
RB Tyrell Sutton Northwestern 5-8
CB Ryan Palmer Texas 5-8 1/8
RB Javon Ringer Michigan State 5-8 1/8
CB Captain Munnerlyn South Carolina 5-8 1/2
K Louie Sakoda Utah 5-8 1/2
WR Quan Cosby Texas 5-8 5/8
WR Lydell Sargeant Penn St. 5-8 7/8
CB D.J. Moore Vanderbilt 5-8 7/8
RB Jeremiah Johnson Oregon 5-8 7/8

Meanwhile, here are the 10 tallest players at the combine in Indianapolis:

Position Player College Height
T Phil Loadholt Oklahoma 6-7 3/4
T Garrett Reynolds North Carolina 6-7 5/8
T Alex Boone Ohio St. 6-7 1/4
G Herman Johnson LSU 6-7 1/4
T Lydon Murtha Nebraska 6-7
DE Mike Johnson Georgia Tech 6-6 7/8
T Joel Bell Furman 6-6 3/4
T Andrew Gardner Georgia Tech 6-6 3/4
DE Zach Potter Nebraska 6-6 3/4
T Ryan McKee Southern Miss 6-6 3/8
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