It used to be that a guy like Devlin Hodges couldn’t be drafted just because he stood at 6’1”, which is too short to play the quarterback position. That might not be the best example, considering that he wasn’t drafted after declaring out of Samford in 2019. But the year’s first-overall pick, Kyler Murray, is three inches shorter.
The undrafted rookie and the top draft pick will face off on Sunday as the Arizona Cardinals host the Pittsburgh Steelers, which should be an interesting game. The Cardinals are coming off a blowout, while the Steelers just scored a key comeback victory over the Cleveland Browns.
While Arizona isn’t fighting for anything, the Steelers very much have ambitions of making the postseason. They sit a 7-5, in position for the sixth seed, but they understand that they don’t have a game to throw away. They have to keep winning if they want to make good on their plans.
And much of the burden lies upon the relatively low-hanging shoulders of Hodges, the man they call Duck, who will make his third career start, Murray his 13th. He said of that pairing, “I think guys like me and Kyler and even Baker [Mayfield] and some of the shorter guys are just proof that the height thing isn’t as big a deal as what it seems to be”.
It’s interesting to note that Hodges now has the opportunity to beat each of the past two first-overall picks in consecutive weeks after outgunning Mayfield on Sunday. While he received far better protection from his offensive line than did Mayfield, he also made the more notable plays.
As far as the rest of it goes, it’s not something that he thinks about. He’s taller than Murray, yet Murray was taken first overall and he didn’t even get signed after the draft. Does he think about that? Does it make him want to outperform him even more?
“No”, he said. “I think outperforming him would be winning the game and that is what matters. It doesn’t matter how many yards I throw for or what, I just want to win the game”.
Frankly, he has a lot more to think about than to be worrying about whether or not he looks better than another young quarterback. He is a young quarterback himself without much NFL experience and is learning new things about the league each and every week.
He’s just trying to do the best he can and beat the Cardinals’ defense. He’s not going to be on the field the same time as Murray. That’s the Steelers’ defense’s problem.
“I am motivated by guys in the locker room, they are the guys that motivate me. I want to do whatever it takes to win the game”, he said. “I don’t want to compare myself to anybody else because I am who I am, and I am not worried about him being the first pick overall or anything. I have to worry about me and this team and what we can do”.