Even in a league of extraordinarily large and athletic men, someone has to play the role of smallest. And by the end of this positional review it should be apparent that being undersized isn't necessarily a bad thing.
But first some qualifications and caveats: in identifying the "smallest" we considered height and weight, erring on the side of height when weight differeces were negligible. Players not currently appearing on active rosters were excluded. Also there are some minor discrepancies out there on player measurables depending where you look (NFL.com, official team rosters, Pro Football Reference, etc.). Let's begin with the offense.
QB: Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks: 5-11, 215 pounds
Wilson busted out of the gate as a rookie after the Seahawks gave Matt Flynn $9 million guaranteed and he's been one of the best in the business ever since. In the same way that Andy Dalton helped pave the wayfor fellow red-headed QB Carson Wentz, Wilson probably eroded NFL teams' prejudice against shorter passers -- just like the slightly taller Drew Brees and fellow sub-6-footer Doug Flutie before him.
RB: Darren Sproles, Philadelphia Eagles: 5-6, 190 pounds
The speedy, ageless wonder is now making a third fan base appreciate his underappreciatedness (if that's a word). If he ever retires, Jacquizz Rodgers of the Bucs, alternately listed at 5-foot-6 or 5-foot-7 and 195-205 pounds, may take his place.
WR: Andrew Hawkins, Cleveland Browns: 5-7, 180 pounds
You have just entered the slot receiver zone.
WR: Tommylee Lewis, New Orleans Saints: 5-7, 168 pounds
Sounds like a gunslinger from a Western flick, actually a really fast rookie wideout and return man.
WR: Taylor Gabriel, Atlanta Falcons: 5-8, 167 pounds
Some other shifty, possession-type receivers who just missed the cut: the Rams' Tavon Austin (5-8, 176), De'Anthony Thomas (5-8, 176) of the Chiefs and the Cowboys' Cole Beasley (5-8, 180).
The 2015 Pro Bowler is listed between 6-0 and 6-2, but we'll assume the official Titans website has it correct as the former. In either case, Walker is still 2-4 inches shorter than the average NFL tight end but certainly plays bigger.
LT: Charles Leno Jr., Chicago Bears: 6-3, 305 pounds
NFL left tackles range up to 6-foot-9 and about 340 pounds. In the land of skyscrapers, Charles Leno is your nondescript, sturdy office building, just getting work done.
Photo: Joe Robbins
LG: Andy Levitre, Atlanta Falcons: 6-2, 303 pounds
Ferentz is in his second season as a backup center in Denver.
RG: Shaq Mason, New England Patriots: 6-1, 310 pounds
You wouldn't expect a guy named Shaq to be the smallest at anything. He's not, exactly: there are some lighter guards in the league but they all check in at 6-foot-2 or above, so we recognize the slightly more compact Patriots guard.
Photo: Maddie Meyer
RT: Chris Hubbard, Pittsburgh Steelers: 6-4, 295 pounds
The 25-year-old swingman can play every position on the line and recently made his first career start at right tackle. There are a few other 6-3 tackles like Leno Jr., but none as light as Hubbard.
DE: Kasim Edebali, New Orleans Saints, 6-2, 253 pounds
On to the defense, where the German-born Edebali plays on passing downs (and on special teams). The Falcons' Dwight Freeney is an inch shorter but has 15 pounds on Edebali, all 15 of which Freeney uses for spin moves.
DE: Yannick Ngakoue, Jacksonville Jaguars: 6-2, 246 pounds
The Jaguars actually have a few of the league's smaller defensive linemen in the rookie Ngakoue, 6-foot-3, 250-pound DE Dante Fowler Jr. and 6-foot-1, 285-pound rookie DT Sheldon Day.
Photo: Maddie Meyer
DT: Aaron Donald, Los Angeles Rams: 6-1, 285 pounds
It's all about leverage for this Defensive Player of the Year candidate. And burst. And a relentless motor and power and smarts. OK, it's mostly about leverage.
DT: Will Sutton, Chicago Bears: 6-0, 297 pounds
Sutton plays nose tackle in the Bears' 3-4 base defense.
Photo: Half Length/Michael Thomas
ILB: Jatavis Brown, San Diego Chargers: 5-11, 221 pounds
Brown is undersized at inside linebacker but the rookie has been holding his own in pass coverage.
The Broncos rookie has contributed mainly on special teams so far.
OLB/Edge: Elvis Dumervil, Baltimore Ravens: 5-11, 250 pounds
There's a number of players about 10-25 pounds lighter but only Dumervil checks in under 6 feet. The defensive end convert is an OLB/edge rusher in Baltimore's scheme and is closing in on 100 career sacks (96).
OLB: Jeremy Cash, Carolina Panthers: 6-0, 215 pounds
The undrafted free agent literally "ate his way" onto the roster, bulking up about 10 pounds from his pre-draft weight. Cash played safety at Duke but the Panthers have converted him to outside linebacker.
There are a couple punters under 6 feet or a shade lighter, but King splits the difference for both. A lot of NFL punters are much larger than the average fan probably imagines, by the way. Both the 49ers' Bradley Pinion and the Rams' Johnny Hekker stand 6-foot-5 and about 233 pounds, basically the size of a quarterback or a lighter tight end.