Brock Osweiler's pro day at Arizona State put a smile on long-time NFL personnel guru Gil Brandt's face. Brandt believes the tall-as-a-tree quarterback climbed into first-round consideration after putting on a clinic in front 23 NFL teams. Not everyone agrees with Gil, but an early run on quarterbacks might very well boost Osweiler's status.
Whoever pulls the trigger will land a giant of a man. Nobody's concerned about Osweiler's ability to see over defensive linemen. At just under 6-foot-7, he's staring into the next county.
With this in mind, let's take a look at some of the tallest quarterbacks in NFL history:
•*Dan McGwire* 6-8 (Seahawks 1991-1994, Dolphins 1995): Nobody has done more of a disservice to tall signal-callers than our friend, Dan McGwire. His brother Mark McGwire was one of baseball's most feared sluggers, but Dan's legacy has haunted tall QB prospects for the past 20 years. Seattle's first-round pick in 1991 floundered in five career starts over as many seasons. Osweiler is aware of the stigma attached to "shorty" McGwire. "I would hear (the comparison) tossed around every once in awhile," Osweiler told The News Tribune. "But I didn't pay too much attention to it because I feel like I'm my own style of a quarterback. I don't feel like there's ever been a quarterback that's 6-7, 240 pounds that had the athleticism I do and can make every throw on the football field."
One thing's for sure: McGwire certainly couldn't.
•*Frank Patrick* 6-7 (Packers 1970-1972): The legendary Frank Andrew Patrick. Three seasons. Zero starts. Still bumping into doorways.
•*Sonny Gibbs* 6-7 (Lions 1964): The year 1965 marked the beginning of Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Namath's career with the New York Jets and, equally iconic, the end of Gibbs' epic one-season run with the Lions. The lone pass he completed for three yards during the 1964 campaign is still discussed in hushed tones and wonderment in Detroit taverns to this day.
A few notable QBs who were hard to miss at 6-6:
•*Derek Anderson* (Ravens 2005, Browns 2006-2009, Cardinals 2010, Panthers 2011-present): Talk about an enigma. Anderson emerged from the deep wilderness in 2007 to throw for 3,787 yards and 29 touchdowns for the Browns, guiding them to 10 wins (their most since 1994) and earning a Pro Bowl bid. From there: Total ugliness, with only 12 touchdowns over the next two seasons, but a generous helping of picks. Some of his best passes were to cornerbacks and safeties, many of them on the Ravens and Steelers, as Anderson -- and the Browns -- again vanished into an abyss. Today, he's locked away behind Cam Newton in Carolina. If he sees the field, it's only because something awful has occurred.
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• Ryan Mallett(Patriots 2011-present): Mallett (listed at 6-7 by some, 6-6 by others) was considered a risk coming out of Arkansas for off-the-field issues, but Bill Belichick rolled the dice. There isn't a better landing spot for Mallett than New England. He'll never see the light of day with Tom Brady in the house, but a steady adjustment to the pros will do him well.
•*John Navarre* (Cardinals 2004-2005): Ah, yes. Who can forget John Navarre and his 43.9 passer rating? You. And me.
•*Scott Mitchell* (Dolphins 1991-1993, Lions 1994-1998, Ravens 1999, Bengals 2000-2001): After Dan Marino tore his Achilles tendon in a 1993 game against the Browns, Mitchell took over and raised eyebrows with his play, netting a lucrative free-agent contract with the Lions. Mitchell struggled in 1994, but set team records in 1995 with 32 touchdown passes and 4,338 passing yards. He led the Lions to the playoffs in 1995 and 1997 before losing the starting job to Charlie Batch. (Ouch).
•*Marc Wilson* (Raiders 1980-1987, Patriots 1989-1990): Serviceable and something of a battler. A quarterback who forged a long career without blowing you away. Wilson is perhaps best known for repeatedly losing his starting job to Jim Plunkett, especially when the Raiders found themselves in a playoff race. He was 31-19 for the Raiders and helped them win the AFC West in 1985, but in 1981 he presided over the franchise's first losing season since 1964.
Not exactly a who's who of All-Pro talent. None of this predicts Osweiler's future -- and if we dip into 6-5 passers, the list is long and rich -- but the track record for football's tallest QBs is less than inspiring.