By Chris Burke
February 21, 2014

Height could be less of a concern for Johnny Manziel (top) given the success of smaller QBs like Russell Wilson. Height could be less of a concern for Johnny Manziel (top) given the success of smaller QBs like Russell Wilson. (John W. McDonough/SI)

INDIANAPOLIS -- "I'm going to measure 6 feet," Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel told the Houston Chronicle this week. "I'm 72 inches on the dot."

Almost. But not quite.

Manziel checked in at 5-foot-11 and 3/4 Friday morning at the NFL scouting combine, narrowly missing that 6-0 cutoff. Will that quarter-of-an-inch deficiency hurt Manziel in the long run? Probably not. At this point, Manziel's lack of ideal height is a known quantity. He even talked about the importance of Russell Wilson's success in the NFL after Wilson recorded a 5-10 5/8 height mark at the combine two years ago.

"I think he's kicked the door wide open," Manziel told the Houston Chronicle. "You're seeing more guys being successful avoiding that first wave of pressure -- get out and do things outside the pocket."

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For what it's worth, Manziel also fell well shy (as everyone knew he would) of fellow potential first-round QB picks Teddy Bridgewater (6-2 1/8) and Blake Bortles (6-5).

Manziel's reputation as more of a playmaker and less of a pocket passer could minimize how badly NFL teams dock him for the sub-6 foot height. Wilson wound up being selected in Round 3 by the Seahawks, who then took advantage of his ability to shift the pocket while reworking their offense. Manziel should offer similar positives once he makes it to the league.

Still, there is a bit of a stigma in the NFL regarding committing to a "short" quarterback as a franchise guy. The dream QB candidate stands closer to Bortles' height. Even Bridgewater, at a little more than 6-2, is bordering on being undersized.

Like Wilson, Manziel did measure well in hand size, another important attribute for QBs -- the larger the hand, the less the perceived risk of fumbling or mishandling snaps. Wilson hit at 10 1/4-inch in that category at the combine; Manziel was at 9 7/8 on Friday, better than Bridgewater or Bortles (9 1/4 and 9 3/8, respectively).

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