The National Football League has produced some of the most physically imposing athletes ever to compete in sports.
Those who have the good fortune to play in this illustrious league are usually well-built. However, a few individuals have made their physically impressive teammates and opponents appear to be non-professional football players due to their size.
There have been a few giants to grace the NFL's strongman league, with heights that could easily be mistaken for a basketball player or a popular wrestler. Here are the ten tallest players to ever play at the highest level of the gridiron.
1. Richard Sligh - 7ft 2in (2.184m)
The NFL's all-time tallest player is also the league's only seven-footer. The native of Newberry, South Carolina, also attended North Carolina Central University and played baseball there.
Sligh was drafted in the 10th round of the 1967 NFL/AFL Draft by the Oakland Raiders, and he only played eight games in his brief professional career.
2. Marcus Stroud Jr. | 6ft 10in (2.0828m)
The NFL's tallest tight end, the Miami native attended historic HBCU Clark Atlanta in college before being drafted in the third round of the 1969 NFL Draft by the Kansas City Chiefs with pick 76. Stroud would go on to help the Chiefs win an NFL championship in Super Bowl IV on January 11, 1970, when they defeated the Minnesota Vikings.
During his five-year career, Stroud caught 54 passes for 977 yards and seven touchdowns. On special teams, however, Stroud would become a more legendary figure, as he would line up at the goalpost and block opposing teams' field goal attempts under the goal posts.
The NFL would institute the "Stroud Rule" in his honor, prohibiting teams from performing the move that is synonymous with him.
3. Dan Skipper | 6ft 10in (2.0828m)
Skipper, the NFL's tallest active player, has spent his four years in the league with five different teams.
In the 2017 NFL Draft, Skipper would go undrafted. The Dallas Cowboys gave him his first shot in the league, but he only made it to the practice squad before being released early in the 2017 season. After that, he was signed by the Detroit Lions, but he only stayed with the team for a year.
Following unsuccessful stops with the Denver Broncos, New England Patriots, and Houston Texans, the offensive tackle joined the Lions for the second time last season. Skipper would even play defensive tackle for nine plays against the Vikings in the Lions' final game of the 2020 season.
4. Ed “Too Tall” Jones | 6ft 9in (2.0574m)
The memorable Dallas Cowboys stalwart would not only become a timeless force on the football field, but also a 6-0 part time boxer.
After a great career at Tennessee State University, Jones would become the No. 1 overall pick of the 1974 NFL Draft by the Cowboys, who had the top pick for the first time.
A Super Bowl XII champion, the tallest man to play the defensive end position in the NFL became an All-Pro and Pro Bowler three straight years, from 1981 to 1983. Jones credited the best play of his career to taking two years off from football to become a heavyweight boxer, going 6-0 before returning to the Cowboys.
The 1974-1978 and 1980-1989 intervals were Jones’ pro career, and he recently premiered in a humorous GEICO commercial.
5. Demar Dotson | 6ft 9in (2.0574m)
For a player not widely known, Dotson has enjoyed a lengthy, respectable career in the NFL.
Undrafted out of Southern Mississippi in 2009, Dotson would sign with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Unlike most undrafted free agents, Dotson would begin a decade-long career with the same team, playing at both right and left tackle.
Dotson may consider himself unlucky, as the 35-year-old left Tampa the season they would win the Super Bowl at home. He signed with the Denver Broncos in August 2020 and plans to play his 12th season in the NFL.
6. Jonathan Ogden | 6ft 9in (2.0574m)
The jolly giant would leave his mark on the game with only one team, the Baltimore Ravens, as one of the greatest players in NFL history. Ogden's sensational college career in not only football but also track led the Ravens to make him their first pick ever by the legendary Ozzie Newsome, and he was instrumental in the franchise's success after being the original Cleveland Browns.
Following a strong rookie season, Ogden would reach a level of excellence in the sport that few have ever matched. Since his second season in 1997, he has been selected to the Pro Bowl every year, earning four First-Team All-Pros and five Second-Team All-Pros in an era when he and other legendary tackles Orlando Pace and Walter Jones dominated.
In a rout of the New York Giants in Super Bowl XXXV in 2001, Ogden played a key role in the Ravens' first Super Bowl victory.
7. Dan McGwire | 6ft 8in (2.032m)
The Seattle Seahawks selected the San Diego State University standout 16th overall in the first round of the 1991 NFL Draft, making him the tallest quarterback in NFL history.
McGwire, on the other hand, is regarded as one of the biggest busts in NFL history, as he never established himself as a regular starter for the Seahawks during his four years in Seattle.
McGwire eventually signed with the Miami Dolphins for the 1995 season, but only threw one pass as a backup to Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino. It would be his final season in the NFL.
8. Cornelius Lucas | 6ft 8in (2.032m)
In his current NFL career, the 29-year-old has become a journeyman offensive tackle, similar to Dan Skipper.
Lucas, who went undrafted out of Kansas State in 2014, has spent the last six seasons with five different teams. Another thing Skipper and I had in common was that the Detroit Lions would be the first to take a chance on him. Throughout three seasons, Lucas would appear in 35 games for the Lions, starting six of them.
After being waived by the Lions before the start of the 2017 season, Lucas went on to play for four different teams in the same period, with stints with the Los Angeles Rams, New Orleans Saints, Chicago Bears, and Washington Football Team. He is currently a member of the Washington Wizards.
9. Jared Veldheer | 6ft 8in (2.032m)
The strong man from Grand Rapids, Michigan, has spent a decade in the NFL.
Veldheer was selected 69th overall in the third round of the 2010 NFL Draft by the Oakland Raiders after excelling at Division II college Hillsdale. Veldheer, a colossal offensive tackle, would be productive enough for the Raiders to sign a five-year, $35 million contract with the Arizona Cardinals for the 2014 season. Injuries derailed his 2016 and 2017 seasons, prompting the Cardinals to trade Veldheer to the Denver Broncos for a sixth-round draft pick in 2018.
More injuries would limit Veldheer's time in Denver to a single season before the New England Patriots selected him for 2019. Veldheer, who appeared to be done with football, would leave the game only a week later. He would reconsider returning and decide that returning to play was the best option for him. He was waived by the Patriots and picked up by the Green Bay Packers for the remainder of the season.
Veldheer would retire from the sport once more, only to resurface with the Indianapolis Colts in time for the NFL Playoffs in 2021. Due to his official status as a member of the Indianapolis Colts practice squad, Veldheer was signed by the Green Bay Packers a few days after the Colts' loss to the Buffalo Bills. Veldheer would have become the first player in NFL history to play for two different teams in the playoffs if he had made that rare, one-of-a-kind move. However, the veteran tackle was to join the Covid-19 reserve list and did not return for the remainder of the playoffs.
10. Harold Carmichael | 6ft 8in (2.032m)
The Jacksonville native would have a fantastic and successful career as the NFL's tallest wide receiver. Carmichael was a standout at HBCU powerhouse Southern University and was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in the seventh round of the 1971 NFL Draft with pick No. 161.
Carmichael became an indelible figure to remember forever when learning about the city's sports history in the city of Brotherly Love, where many players could draw the wrath of the enthusiastic Philly crowd and receive enemy hatred. In 1973, Carmichael, a four-time Pro Bowler and three-time second-team All-Pro, would lead the NFL in receiving catches and yards. Carmichael was named to the NFL's All-Decade team in the 1970s as a result of his outstanding play with the Eagles.
Carmichael was a top receiver on the field and a gentleman off it, winning the NFL Man of the Year Award in 1980. After 12 seasons with the Eagles, the colossal receiver was traded to the New York Jets and then the Dallas Cowboys for the 1984 season. Both teams were hoping Carmichael would provide a much-needed boost to their receiving game, but he had nothing left in the tank. Carmichael retired in November 1984