NFL combine: Bryce Young not worried about size concerns
One of the biggest — and only — questions revolving around Bryce Young is something he has almost no control over: His size.
The former Alabama quarterback could be the No. 1 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, but concerns about Young's smaller frame have almost overshadowed what he did in two seasons in Tuscaloosa, which included a 30-4 record, one Heisman Trophy, 80 touchdowns to only 12 interceptions and a 65.8 career competition percentage.
Young tried to downplay the one area of his game that remains under scrutiny when he spoke to reporters Friday at the NFL scouting combine. Young claimed his size wouldn't be a problem because he has played well despite it for his entire career up until this point.
"I've been this size, respectfully, my whole life," Young said. "I know who I am. I know what I can do."
Alabama listed Young on its athletics website as 6 feet and 194 pounds. If those numbers hold, Young would be the smallest first-round quarterback selected since the 1970 merger. The last quarterback drafted since then to weigh 200 pounds or less, stand 6 feet or shorter and actually play under center was Tim Rattay, who went in the seventh round to the San Franciso 49ers in 2000. Rattay saw action in 40 games from 2000-2007 for the 49ers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Arizona Cardinals, mostly as a backup.
The most well-known quarterback with Young's build was Len Dawson, who was drafted fifth overall by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1957. He stood 6 feet tall and weighed 190 pounds. Dawson went on to be a Hall of Fame passer for the Kansas City Chiefs from 1963-1975.
Young told reporters he expects to weigh more than 200 pounds at the combine, which would likely put him in the same class as a lot of good, albeit short, quarterbacks like Kyler Murray, Drew Brees, Russell Wilson and Michael Vick. That group also includes busts like Johnny Manziel and late-round backups like Ian Book, Trace McSorley and Seneca Wallace.
The subject of Young's size has been much discussed on social media as well. There was the photo of him standing next to ESPN's Mina Kimes, who later claimed she was wearing 4-inch heels and that she stands at 5-foot-7, as well as one showing the shoes he wore at the podium Friday. And then the video of him walking next to Michigan tight end Luke Schoonmaker, who is listed as 6-6 and 250 pounds.
Bryce Young has arrived at the combine pic.twitter.com/7KpMKZhs9g
— Andrew Groover (@APGroover) March 1, 2023
All of the hyperbole and speculation matters for only one team, though — the one that drafts him on April 27. Young could go as high as No. 1 to either the Chicago Bears or another team that trades up for the pick, or anywhere in the first round to a team that desperately needs a quarterback.
The size questions are a big one, but Young seems to be the only one who isn't worried about how it'll affect his ability to play.
"Everyone can speculate and ask whatever questions are necessary," he said. "But I'm going to continue to control what I can control and keep working my hardest to put myself in a good position. I'm confident in myself and I know what I can do."