Jeff LechvoldESPN Senior Writer4 minutes of reading
INDIANAPOLIS — Alabama quarterback Bryce Young, one of the top players available in the 2023 NFL Draft, told teams at the scouting combine this week that concerns about his size are misplaced.
On Saturday, Young officially measured 5-foot-10 1/8 and 204 pounds, which would make him the lightest Round 1 quarterback since at least 2006 and one of the shortest to be drafted since the AFL-NFL merger in 1967.
Listed at 6-foot, 194 pounds out of Alabama, Young is the No. 1-ranked player by ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay and Scouts Inc. and the No. 4-ranked player on Mel Kiber Jr.’s big board.
“I’ve been this size, respectfully, my whole life,” Young said. “I know who I am, I know what I can do, for me, it’s fair, everyone can speculate, ask me every question, I’m going to continue to control what I can control, continue to work hard. I believe in myself, what I can do. I know I can.”
Kyler Murray, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 draft by the Arizona Cardinals, measured 5-10 1/8, 207 pounds at that year’s combine. Murray is the shortest first-round quarterback taken since 1967, and he’s tied with Johnny Manziel, the 22nd overall pick in the 2014 draft. They are the only two quarterbacks drafted in the first round who were under 6 feet. Michael Vick, the No. 1 pick in the 2001 draft by the Atlanta Falcons, was 6-foot, 210 pounds at the 2001 combine, while Drew Brees was 6-foot, 213 pounds in 2001. Second round by the then San Diego Chargers.
Young’s physical dimensions haven’t hindered his career in one of the nation’s top college football powerhouses. Young was a Heisman Trophy winner and the 2021 Southeastern Conference Offensive Player of the Year after throwing 79 touchdown passes with 12 interceptions in his two seasons as the Crimson Tide’s starter. In his final game — Alabama’s Sugar Bowl win over Kansas State this January — Young threw for 321 yards with five touchdown passes.
Young’s size has become a much-discussed topic regarding his NFL potential, especially after a season in which he missed time with a sprained AC joint in his right (throwing) shoulder.
On Friday, when asked what he might weigh on Saturday, Young said “I was in the 200-pound range, and it’s not too hard to do.”
Young said Friday he had formal meetings with the Chicago Bears and Houston Texans. In April’s draft, the Bears picked the no. 1 pick, while the Texans have the No. 2 and No. 12 have exams.
Young said he spoke with former Alabama quarterback and current New England Patriots quarterback Mack Jones about the pre-draft process and “how to take me.” He said that he has answered every question asked by the groups as honestly as possible.
“My motivation was not to have to prove anything,” Young said. “For me, I have to try to explain all the things that I see to the coaches and the GMs, all the decision makers. How I see the game, my experiences … and learning.
“I speak my truth. How I play the game, how I see the game, explain my process. Obviously there’s good stuff on film, on the board, talking balls.”