The NFL is a league dominated by size and athleticism. While skill and technique are certainly important factors in success at the professional level, having a physical advantage over opponents can make a huge difference. Throughout the history of the league, some truly massive human beings have taken the field, towering over most of their peers. Here we break down the 10 tallest players to ever play in the NFL based on official listed heights.
10. Demar Dotson – 6’8″
Taking the first spot is longtime Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive tackle Demar Dotson, who stands an even 6’8″.
Dotson was not drafted in the 2009 NFL Draft but signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2009 as an undrafted free agent.
He developed into a mainstay on Tampa Bay’s line for 11 seasons.
Dotson’s massive size and strength made him a formidable blocker on the edge.
He helped protect quarterbacks like Josh Freeman, Mike Glennon, and Jameis Winston. Dotson showed that with tremendous technique to compensate for size, an offensive tackle can anchor an NFL line while measuring over 6’8″.
9. Harold Carmichael – 6’8″
Harold Carmichael is one of the greatest receivers in Philadelphia Eagles history. He was drafted in the 7th round in 1971.
Carmichael, through sheer determination and maximizing his physical advantages rewrote the Eagles’ record books.
He holds the franchise records for career receptions (590), receiving yards (8,985), and touchdowns (79) across 13 seasons spent with the Philadelphia Eagles.
His final season in the NFL was spent with the Dallas Cowboys. Carmichael used his massive catch radius to dominate defenders and prove that a receiver could thrive in the NFL while measuring nearly 6’8″ tall.
8. Stone Forsythe – 6’8″
Stone Forsythe, an offensive tackle who stands 6’8″, is currently playing for the Seattle Seahawks.
He was drafted by the Seahawks in the sixth round, 208th overall, of the 2021 NFL Draft.
Forsythe’s massive size and strength have made him a promising player on the edge of the Seahawks’ offensive line.
As of 2022, he has played 27 games and started 11.
Forsythe’s career is a testament to how an offensive lineman’s talent and technique can compensate for potential limitations from their towering stature.
7. Dan McGwire – 6’8″
Dan McGwire was one of the tallest quarterbacks ever to play in the NFL, standing an imposing 6’8”.
He was drafted 16th overall by the Seattle Seahawks in 1991 with the hope that his immense size could give him an advantage passing over defenses.
While McGwire did show a strong arm early in his career, inconsistencies and a lack of touch/accuracy limited him to just 16 career starts over 5 seasons split between Seattle and Miami.
Still, simply making the league as a 6’8″ QB was quite the accomplishment for McGwire during an era before elite mobility was common at the position.
6. Alejandro Villanueva – 6’9″
Alejandro Villanueva played offensive tackle in the NFL while also serving as a Captain in the United States Army.
After graduating from West Point in 2010, Villanueva served three tours in Afghanistan before joining the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2014 at the massive height of 6’9”.
He went on to spend six seasons in the NFL with the Steelers and one season with the Baltimore Ravens, developing into a quality starting left tackle.
Villanueva showed that tremendous size, athleticism, intelligence, and perseverance can allow one to not only serve their country, but thrive as a professional athlete as well.
5. Ed “Too Tall” Jones – 6’9″
Ed “Too Tall” Jones, with a height of 6’9”, is one of the most physically intimidating defensive ends ever to play the game.
Jones played 15 seasons in the NFL from 1974-1978 and 1980-1989, spending the bulk of his career terrorizing opposing offenses for the Dallas Cowboys.
Living up to his “Too Tall” nickname, Jones used his massive size to engulf blockers and wreak havoc in the backfield.
He amassed 57.5 career sacks, earned three Pro Bowl nods, and was a key member of Dallas’ Super Bowl XII championship team.
Jones proved that sheer size and strength could compensate for a lack of athleticism at the defensive end position.
4. Jonathan Ogden – 6’9″
Jonathan Ogden is widely considered one of the greatest offensive linemen in NFL history.
The towering 6’9” tackle was selected with the 4th overall pick in the 1996 NFL Draft by the Baltimore Ravens.
Ogden went on to have a Hall of Fame career spanning 12 seasons, making the Pro Bowl 11 times.
His combination of size, strength, and mobility made Ogden a dominant blindside protector for many years.
Ogden’s impressive career is a testament to how an offensive lineman can thrive in the NFL despite measuring nearly 7 feet tall.
3. Dan Skipper – 6’10”
Dan Skipper is one of the more recent entries on this list. The massive offensive tackle stands 6’10” and has spent time with the Dallas Cowboys, Detroit Lions, New England Patriots, Houston Texans, Las Vegas Raiders, and Indianapolis Colts.
While Skipper has yet to cement a full-time starting role in the league, simply making it to the NFL at his size is quite an accomplishment.
With his combination of length and athleticism, Skipper has the tools to potentially develop into a quality starter if he can continue improving his technique at the professional level.
2. Morris Stroud – 6’10”
Morris Stroud is one of the few players on this list who was able to carve out a successful career despite his massive size.
The tight end played six seasons in the NFL from 1969 to 1974 for the Kansas City Chiefs.
Stroud used his 6’10” frame to become a notable special teams player, specifically at blocking field goals. His combination of size and skill allowed him to make a significant impact in the NFL.
1. Richard Sligh – 7’0″
Standing at a towering 7 feet even, Richard Sligh holds the distinction of being the tallest player in NFL history.
Sligh played as a defensive tackle for the Oakland Raiders in 1967.
His massive size made him an intimidating presence, but his career in the league was brief, limited to just eight games in one season.
Still, simply making it to the NFL level at 7 feet tall is an impressive feat in and of itself.
In conclusion, while size is certainly not everything in the NFL, having a major physical advantage in height can open up opportunities. The 10 players on this list used their tremendous stature to varying degrees of success, but all showed that with enough skill, determination, and hard work, even a player measuring nearly 7 feet can thrive and leave their mark at football’s highest level. Size may not always equal success, but it can certainly help when combined with talent.