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What is the Average Body Mass Index of an NFL Player?

The NFL is well known for having some of the biggest athletes in pro sports with linemen in the league typically weighing over 300 lbs.

Often times, when you are watching a game with a relatively new viewer they will comment on how big and out of shape the offensive and defensive lineman look. However, while these players are very large, they are also very athletic.

Case in point is guard Michael Jasper, who is the heaviest player in the NFL at 375 lbs. During his pro day, he posted a 5.53 40-yard dash, he bench pressed 225 lbs 33 times in a row and had a vertical jump of 28 inches. Not bad for a guy who weighed 394 lbs at the time.

One of the most often used measures for healthy weight levels is the Body Mass Index (BMI) calculation which looks that the height and weight of an individual to determine a single number, which is referenced against category guidelines from very underweight (15 and under) to very obese (35 and over).

The Normal range is considered to be between 18.5 and 24.9 - the average for the Unites States is 27.82 and the average American male is 28.64.

A BMI of 25-29 is considered to be overweight, over 30 is considered to be obese, 35-40 severe obesity, and anything over 40 is morbid obesity.

It's important to note that athletes typically skew higher on the BMI index because weight can include fat and muscle.  Athletes in the 25-29 range are usually not considered to be overweight...but as their level exceeds 30, it's typically due to increased levels of body fatness. (see

We find some interesting numbers when we look at the BMI of the NFL from the average, to the highs and lows, to by position:

What is the average BMI for an NFL player?


For the 2012 season, looking at every player in the league, the average body mass index is 31.35.

This places the league as a whole in the obese category. However, as one can plainly see from watching a single down, the BMI number doesn't paint a true picture. The reason for this is that the BMI measure doesn't take into consideration the difference in muscle mass and fat. 

Obviously, NFLers have a considerably higher rate of muscle mass than the average individual, which increases their weight on a height basis and leads to over calculation in the BMI measure.

What is the highest BMI in the NFL?


Michael Jasper holds the honor of the highest BMI in the NFL. 

Here is a list of the top 5 players by BMI:

Name Position Height (Inches) Weight BMI
Michael Jasper G 76 375 45.64
Alameda Ta'amu NT 74 348 44.68
Nicolas Jean-Baptiste NT 73 337 44.46
Brandon McKinney NT 74 345 44.29
Hebron Fangupo NT 72 324 43.94

What is the lowest BMI in the NFL?


Greg Gatson, cornerback for the San Diego Chargers is currently the NFLer with the lowest BMI.

What is the average BMI by position in the NFL?

Below is a list of average BMI by NFL position:

Position BMI
NT 40.50
DT 38.22
G 38.05
T 36.73
C 36.72
DE 33.83
LB 31.34
RB 30.98
TE 30.62
S 27.97
QB 27.78
K 27.30
P 27.20
WR 26.61
CB 26.58

Nose tackles lead the pack with an average BMI of 40.50 while cornerbacks are the leanest in the league with an average BMI of 26.58.

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