Short can be sweet for pass rushers

INDIANAPOLIS — As the NFL has evolved, height has become more important, especially for linemen. There isn’t a single offensive lineman in attendance at the NFL Scouting Combine shorter than 6-foot-2, and many of the best defensive linemen (who arrive Friday) will be of similar stature.

Traditionally, 6-3 is considered the prototypical height for a standout defensive end/outside linebacker. But the times could be changing. Steelers director of football operations Kevin Colbert said there is a place for shorter players on the edge.

“I think that has changed with the growth of the tackles,” Colbert said. “As the tackles get taller, they have a little more trouble with the Elvis Dumervil‘s and the James Harrison‘s, who aren’t quite 6-3, because they are great leverage players.”

Colbert also warned against dismissing pass rush prospects because of a body type.

“I don’t think you ever want to get knocked into a prototypical size,” Colbert said. “We all want that, but you can’t turn down good players, because they’re not 6-3.”

Jason Feller

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