Wednesday brought the first measurements of the 2019 NFL Combine, with offensive linemen, running backs, and special teams players getting measured for their official height, weight, arm length, and hand size.
Arm length is considered an important measurement for offensive linemen, and particularly offensive tackles that need the wingspan on the edge against premier pass rushers. And so, during the Combine, we hear extensively about arm length and impact on draft stock.
Alabama offensive tackle Jonah Williams is a likely top ten pick, but after he measured in at 33 5/8 inch arm length, some analysts offered that up as a potential issue. Todd McShay mentioned it, and San Francisco 49ers left tackle Joe Staley was quick to jump to Williams’ defense.
extending my 33 inch arms to show you that. Measurables are for the birds https://t.co/S1QMQFawBv— Joe Staley (@jstaley74) February 27, 2019
Staley may not have the longest arms in the NFL, but he’s put together a fantastic career. If he can get a Lombardi Trophy before retirement, it might even be enough to get him into the finalist discussion for Hall of Fame voting.
Arm length can be important, but if you’ve got enough other prominent traits, it can always be overcome. Earlier today, Kyle Shanahan was asked about the emphasis on a quarterback’s height, and made a good point that can apply to any player in the draft evaluation process.
“The odds are that if you’re taller, it should be easier. If you’re faster, it should be easier. If you have a better arm, it should be easier. But, like I’ll say about every single position, there’s no absolutes at anything. So, if guys can throw and play the position, they don’t have to dunk. If you can jump, you can be small and still dunk. So, everyone gets too big into, ‘Odds are, the taller you are, the easier it is.’ But short guys can play and that’s being proven over and over again.”