GREEN BAY, Wis. – In 1977, Randy Newman sang “Short People.” A funny song about those who are, shall we say, height-challenged, it reached No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100.
“Short people got no reason to live,” is the introductory verse.
Green Bay Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst’s attitude toward short football players isn’t nearly as harsh. But short receivers have no reason to believe they’ll catch passes from Aaron Rodgers.
In the 16 drafts conducted by Ted Thompson and, now, Gutekunst, the shortest receiver selected was Randall Cobb at 5-foot-10 1/4. So, no, despite what the national pundits predict in their spit-balling mock drafts, Rondale Moore will not be the Packers’ first-round pick. At 5-foot-7, he’d have to have one hell of a growth spurt over the next few days. Ole Miss’ Elijah Moore, Clemson’s Amari Rodgers and South Carolina’s Shi Smith, all 5-foot-9 1/2, won’t be options, either. Allegedly, the Packers are “high” on Western Michigan receiver D’Wayne Eskridge. At 5-foot-8 3/4, history suggests that’s not the case, though perhaps coach Matt LaFleur is a persuasive man.
“I don’t want no short people ‘round here,” Newman sang.
Short cornerbacks don’t belong around the likes of Jaire Alexander in the secondary. In those same 16 drafts, 14 cornerbacks were selected. Alexander, at 5-foot-10 1/4, is a half-inch shorter than any other cornerback.
That likely means the Packers won’t be drafting Washington star Elijah Molden, who measured 5-foot-9 1/2.
“Well, I don’t want no short people ‘round here,” Newman concluded.
The genesis dates to Ron Wolf, who vowed to never make the same mistake as when he drafted cornerback Terrell Buckley. The fifth pick of the 1992 draft measured 5-foot-9 1/8. That policy stood until Mike Sherman selected Ahmad Carroll in 2004. The 5-foot-9 3/4 cornerback was a big-time bust as the 25th pick. Thompson replaced Sherman in 2005 and reimplemented Wolf’s height standards.
“I think it’s because Ron and Ted pounded it into all of our brains as we were being trained, that it wasn’t allowed,” Gutekunst said. “In all seriousness, I do think that you have to decide how you want to look and how you want to be. I think up here in Green Bay, in our weather conditions, that we’ve always tended to lean on bigger, more physical players. If you’re playing in a dome or down South, those guys are smaller, quicker, with speed, I think that lasts during the season a little bit longer than if you’re up here. And the durability factor. I think that’s part of it.
“ I know that all of us that were trained under Ron and Ted, that’s a hard thing to get over but I do think if the right player is there – Jaire was very, very close to our Mendoza Line, which sometimes drops a little bit depending on how good of a player you are. We certainly will consider those players but I do think it’s just part of the way we’re all trained.”