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 210 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 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 109 active running backs* across the league.
In addition, just for fun, I listed the tallest, shortest, heaviest and lightest running backs as well. Go ahead and impress someone today with your newfound random football knowledge.
*Editor’s Note: I did not include the 10 players listed as a fullback, including the 305-pound freak show known as Patrick Ricard. Those guys are all, as one would expect, significantly heavier than the average running back and I felt it would skew the results.
Average Height of an NFL Running Back
The average height of an NFL Running Back is 70.66 inches (just over 5’10 1/2″).
Average Weight of an NFL Running Back
The average weight of an NFL Running Back is 213.17 pounds.
Who Are The Tallest Running Backs in the NFL?
There are 5 Running Backs listed at 6’2″ or taller.
This includes Derrick Henry who I’m convinced is from another planet. I don’t understand how someone his size moves the way he does.
Who are the Shortest Running Backs in the NFL?
There are 27 Running Backs listed at 5’9″ or shorter.
Out of those 27, only 4 are 5’7″ or under. This includes Deuce Vaughn who at 5’5″ is not only the shortest Running Back, but the shortest player in the entire NFL.
Who are the Heaviest Running Backs in the NFL?
I legitimately feel bad for any defensive back who has to try to tackle one of these guys in the open field.
The 7 biggest Running Backs in the NFL all weigh 235 pounds or more.
Who are the Lightest Running Backs in the NFL?
On the other end of the scale (pun intended) are the lightest Backs in the league.
There are only 14 guys under 200 pounds and the 5 lightest are 190 pounds or less.
This is the second season that I’ve posted 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 116 active Running Backs:
Average Size of NFL Running Backs by Year
Here were the four tallest running backs in the NFL in 2022, all listed at 6’3″ tall.
- Derrick Henry – Titans
- Zander Horvath – Chargers
- Jakob Johnson – Raiders
- Latavius Murray – Broncos
There were six running backs listed at 5’8″, but only two were listed under 5’8″.
The two shortest backs in the league were:
- Boston Scott – 5’6″ – Eagles
- Devin Singletary – 5’7″ – Bills
It’s probably not too big of a surprise that the two heaviest running backs were also two of the tallest.
Here are the top 5:
- Jakob Johnson – 255 pounds – Raiders
- Derrick Henry – 247 pounds – Titans
- AJ Dillon – 247 pounds – Packers
- Gus Edwards – 238 pounds – Ravens
- Royce Freeman – 238 pounds – Texans
There were 4 running backs listed at 190 pounds, the lightest weight for any running back that year. (Interestingly enough, none of the 5’8 or shorter guys)
- Raheem Blackshear – Panthers
- Demetric Felton – Browns
- Matt Breida – Giants
- James Cook – Bills
So, what did I learn?
That Derrick Henry is an absolute beast.
Well, I didn’t learn that necessarily, I already knew that. But, can you imagine being a defensive back trying to tackle 6’3 and 250 pounds in the open field?
If you found this info interesting, you might also enjoy the fastest running backs in NFL combine history.
I’ve done the same height and weight breakdown for other positions too including:
I’ve also broken down the sizes of College Football Running Backs if you’d like to compare guys at that level to the NFL.
Or, you can check out the average heights and weights of all NFL Players by position here.