Pete Carroll: QBs under 6-0, like Johnny Manziel, can succeed

Johnny Manziel measured under 6 feet tall at the NFL combine Friday.
Johnny Manziel measured under 6 feet tall at the NFL combine Friday. (USATSI)

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INDIANAPOLIS -- On Friday, the upcoming quarterback draft class was measured for height, weight and hand size. Though Johnny Manziel's hands were bigger than Teddy Bridgewater and Blake Bortles, the former Texas A&M star measured at 5-foot-11 3/4-inches.

Since he had been so confident that he would be 72 inches, you have to wonder how him falling 1/2 inch short will affect his draft status, if at all. Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said that it would throw an additional question out there when teams discuss whether they should draft Manziel, but as we saw this year, a quarterback that measures just under 6 feet still can lead his team to a Super Bowl.

That, of course, would be Russell Wilson, who also stands tall at 5-10. If there's a blueprint for quarterbacks measuring under 6 feet tall to be successful, perhaps Wilson is the architect.

"We've learned that Russell is a great football player and a great competitor," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. "It doesn't matter what package he goes in. It's not because he's 5-11 1/2 that he's a great football player. He's just a great football player. There are some notable players who are likewise, and I think it was Johnny who said that Russell has opened the door for guys like him. That's true. 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."

Highest on that list according to Carroll is Wilson's competitive. Those of us who have watched Manziel the past two years can see that he has that attribute, as well.

While Wilson can compete -- and play well -- if he has to stay in the pocket, he brings the element of improvisation with his ability to scramble (and to keep his head up while he does so in order to find receivers who have suddenly found themselves open). Manziel obviously also has that ability.

"College football has generated a style of play that has allowed us to see the quarterback as athletes away from the pocket," Carroll said. "The great deal of their work has to be done in the pocket. But then a whole brand new game starts when the athletes move. There's nothing more difficult for a defensive coach to deal with than a scrambling quarterback. It's the most unpredictable thing. We're seeing more of and more of it. But you can't last in the league just running the football. The pounding is too great. But you don't have to be a runner to use that mobility effectively."

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