INDIANAPOLIS – Alabama quarterback Bryce Young, who could be one of the smallest first-round quarterbacks drafted in many years, faced a number of questions about his height and weight on Friday. Young told reporters he expects to check in at around “200 pounds” at his weigh-in at the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine and believes the concerns about his lack of mass are overblown.
“I’ve been this size, respectfully, my whole life,” Young said during his combine news conference. “I know who I am. I know what I can do.”
What Young can do — in a two-year span as the Crimson Tide’s starter — is win the Heisman Trophy, lead his team to a 23-4 record and have an 80-to-12 TD-to-INT ratio while throwing for 8,356 yards. But from the NFL’s perspective, there’s concern about Young’s ability to sustain hits with a lean frame and a height that’s expected to check in somewhere between 5-foot-10 and 5-foot-11.
The height is one thing. But the lack of bulk could be the biggest concern, especially after Young suffered a shoulder injury last season and was sacked 53 times the past two seasons.
Asked how he “talks about” his size with teams in meetings and interviews, Young said it’s not a worry for him, gently directing the conversation toward why he’s considered one of the best QB prospects in this class: for how he plays the game and for what has made him successful at one of the best programs in college football.
“I just speak my truth,” Young said. “You know, I make sure I explain how I play the game — how I see the game, my process, being able to get big plays.”
NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah rates Young as his No. 3 overall prospect. While acknowledging that Young’s “narrow frame raises concerns about his durability at the next level,” Jeremiah also notes that Young “can avoid free rushers and extend plays, always keeping his eyes up to capitalize down the field with his arm” and “will take the free yards with his legs when necessary,” which should reduce some of the size concerns.
Notes Jeremiah: “If Young can maintain his health, he should quickly emerge as a quality starting quarterback in the NFL.”
Young said on Friday he has met with several teams, including the owners of the first- (Chicago Bears) and second-overall picks (Houston Texans) in the 2023 NFL Draft. The Bears continue to suggest they’re more open to trading down, but they’re doing their due diligence on the QB crop at the combine. The Texans, along with multiple other teams picking relatively high in the draft, appear to be very much in the QB draft market.
Although Young isn’t expected to throw at the combine, he’s expected to do so at Alabama’s pro day on April 6.
Asked how he’s tried to project himself to teams, Young fell back on two key traits: toughness and mental acuity.
“I feel like I’m someone who pushes myself, and I pride myself as far as my preparation and processing and leading the offense,” he said. “And, you know, for me, I make sure that I do whatever I feel like is best for the team. I try to make efficient decisions, and every time whether it’s run or pass — I try to make sure that I’m playing the most efficiently for the betterment for the team.”
Young also was asked what the biggest misconception was about his game. It certainly would have been easy for Young to take the low-hanging fruit here and push back against the size-related narratives. Few likely would have blamed Young had he done it. Instead, Young chose a higher road, continuing to sidestep the noise about his measurables almost as well as he evaded pressure in college.
“To be honest, I don’t really know too much that’s out there about me,” he said. “I’m grateful for everyone’s opinions and for the media for all the coverage and everything.
“But honestly, I’m not really on social media that much. I’m not really watching too much about me. You know, I respect everyone.”
Even those who question his size.