I’ve been a collegiate sports performance coach for 20 years. One thing I always felt was effective was showing guys the heights and weights of players at their position in the NFL.
It helped give many players the extra motivation needed to gain weight when they were able to compare themselves to guys at the next level. (Sometimes it was even a stark reality check for, say, defensive ends who thought 205 pounds was ‘big enough’ to play in the NFL.)
So, this is essentially the same research I would share with players, but now I’m sharing it with you. I took 53-man active rosters for the 2023 season (just after the final cuts at the end of preseason), almost 1700 players total and broke them down by position.
For this guide, I took an average of the heights and weights of the 124 active Defensive Ends across the league.
In addition, just for fun, I listed the tallest, shortest, heaviest and lightest Defensive Ends as well. Go ahead and impress someone today with your newfound random football knowledge.
Average Height of an NFL Defensive End
The average height of an NFL Defensive End is 76.15 inches (almost 6’4 1/4″ tall).
Average Weight of an NFL Defensive End
The average weight of an NFL Defensive End is 273.86 pounds.
Who Are The Tallest Defensive Ends in the NFL?
There are almost 20 Defensive Ends in the NFL listed at 6’6″ or taller, but only 5 are 6’7″ plus.
Who are the Shortest Defensive Ends in the NFL?
Although it may seem like all Defensive Ends are 6’6″ creatures from another planet, that’s not necessarily the case.
There are a dozen guys 6’2″ or shorter. 2 of the 12 are listed at 6’1″.
Who are the Heaviest Defensive Ends in the NFL?
Defensive Ends can vary enormously in weight depending on the defensive scheme they play in.
3-4 Defensive Ends are oftentimes closer in size (and position demands) to Defensive Tackles than they are Defensive Ends.
The 8 biggest Ends are 305 pounds or more.
Who are the Lightest Defensive Ends in the NFL?
Literally, 100 pounds in the opposite is the smallest Defensive End in the league.
Again, the scheme can play a huge factor. 4-3 rush ends can often be closer to the average size of an Outside Linebacker.
The smallest guys at the position are all 245 pounds or lighter.
|Will McDonald IV||6’4″||236||Jets|
|Will Anderson Jr||6’4″||243||Texans|
This is the second season that I’ve run this data and I thought it would be interesting to keep an ‘archive’, if you will, of past seasons to watch how the sizes of players evolve over the years.
So here are the numbers for the 2022 season including 132 active Defensive Ends:
Average Size of NFL Defensive Ends by Year
There were 5 defensive ends listed at 6’7″ in 2022, the tallest in the league that year.
- Calais Campbell – 6’8″ – Ravens
- Brent Urban – 6’7″ – Ravens
- Isaiahh Loudermill – 6’7″ – Steelers
- Tanoh Kpassagno – 6’7″ – Saints
- Aidan Hutchinson – 6’7″ – Lions
There were only 4 defensive ends listed at 6’1″ or less. (and one just so happens to be one of the best players of all time)
- Poona Ford – 5’11” – Seahawks
- Aaron Donald – 6’1″ – Rams
- DeShawn Williams – 6’1″ – Broncos
- Brandon Williams – 6’1″ – Chiefs
There were about two dozen guys who weighed over 300 pounds.
Here were the top 5:
- Brandon Williams – 336 pounds – Chiefs
- Corey Peters – 335 pounds – Jaguars
- Neil Farrell – 325 pounds – Raiders
- Dalvin Tomlinson – 325 pounds – Vikings
- Akiem Hicks – 324 pounds – Bucs
Almost 100 pounds in the other direction, here were the five lightest defensive ends in the league.
- Marquis Haynes – 235 pounds – Panthers
- Shaka Toney – 238 pounds – Commanders
- Amare Barno – 245 pounds – Panthers
- Samson Ebukam – 245 pounds – 49ers
- Malcolm Koonce – 249 pounds – Raiders
So, what did I learn?
Defensive Ends are incredibly long. Over a third (36.2%) of the ends in the league are 6’5″ or taller. That’s crazy.
Also, as I mentioned earlier, there is a difference of 100 pounds between the heaviest and lightest defensive ends.
Different defensive schemes (4-3 vs 3-4) demand very different body types at the end position to the point where they’re almost completely different positions.
If you found this breakdown interesting, you may also want to check out the fastest defensive end 40 times in NFL Combine history.
I’ve done the same height and weight breakdown for other positions too including: