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Bruce Arians: Johnny Manziel's height poses 'a question mark'

  • By Andy Fenelon NFL.com
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INDIANAPOLIS -- For all the fuss that has been made over Johnny Manziel's height, Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians has a message:

It's all warranted.

Arians, attending the NFL Combine as part of a Cardinals contingent, ushered a common NFL concern Friday morning, a few hours after Manziel officially measured under 6 feet.

"There are a bunch of 6-5 successful guys who are athletic," Arians said. "The 5-11 guys, it has to throw a question mark out there."

The Cardinals seemingly would be in the market for a quarterback, although Arians pretty much shot that down Friday. Besides, the Cardinals have the 20th pick in the draft, an unlikely spot to find a franchise quarterback in a year where only three -- Manziel, Blake Bortles and Teddy Bridgewater -- appear to qualify and should all be gone in the top 10 picks.

We mention this because Arians obviously felt comfortable discussing and being critical of Manziel's height. It seemed like an honest response to a question most in the NFL dance around. No smoke screens if there's no interest. Unless, of course, it's all a smoke screen.

Another coach whose team won't be taking a quarterback early is the Seahawks' Pete Carroll, whose unique perspective on shorter quarterbacks might be unmatched among current head coaches. He's coming off a Super Bowl victory that was led by Russell Wilson, who is 5-foot-11.

Obviously, Carroll sees a place in the NFL for under-6-foot quarterbacks.

"I think it was Johnny who said that Russell has opened the door for guys like him. That's true," Carroll said. "The last few years, the general thinking was that a guy like Russell couldn't play. That's obviously wrong. But not everybody that's 5-11 1/2 can be a great football player. All of the elements that make up Russell make him very unique, no matter how tall he is."

Texans coach Bill O'Brien, whose team is in position to take Manziel with the top overall pick, likes quarterbacks with good size and mobility. While Manziel has the mobility, maybe the best of any quarterback who will play in the NFL next season, it's his size that might be limiting to some.

O'Brien, however, was quick to differentiate height from build.

"It's less about height than it is about how he's built," he said.

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