The 2014 NFL Combine takes place this week in Indianapolis, which means 335 players will be measured and weighed prior to doing workouts as they prepare for the 2014 NFL Draft. One of the big points of contention in the 2014 Draft is quarterback size, as there are only 2-3 quarterbacks who are what most would consider prototypical size.
For instance, one of the biggest knocks on Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater is he's small and appears to be fragile, but how much does that matter in the modern NFL?
"You can look at the straight physics of it," former Jaguars medical trainer Mike Ryan told Hays Carylon of The Florida TImes-Union. "Russell Wilson getting hit by a big guy is going to be more of an impact than on [Pittsburgh's] Ben Roethlisberger [6-5, 241 pounds]. It comes down to the player and the way they play."
The last line in that quote from Ryan is key, because I think how a player absorbs shots is directly related to how oft they're injured. For instance, Russell Wilson knows when to take a hit, how to "ball up" so to speak for a hit and when to get out of bounds. Johnny Manziel and Teddy Bridgewater, two of the "smaller" quarterbacks in the draft, are also adept at doing this. On the other side, someone like Robert Griffin III or Michael Vick take quite a few unnecessary hits running with the football and has lead to them being more dinged up than the next quarterback.
Knowing how to get hit and how to avoid unnecessary hits are a key trait for a quarterback.
"What they do to avoid getting hit in the head," Ryan told Carylon. "The rules now are very different than what they were even five years ago to protect the quarterback. So if the quarterback is doing what he can do avoid the hit, I think the smaller quarterbacks tend to do well. There's no greater concussion or injury risk. It depends whether the guy stays in the pocket or is running around. Even the big quarterbacks that run into linebackers and safeties tend to pay the price."
There are still merits for desiring size outside the injury issue, but it appears the injury issue is more about playing smart and limiting risks than it is overall size.