Sports

INDIANAPOLIS — Alabama quarterback Bryce Young, who is one of the top players available in the 2023 NFL draft, has told teams his week at the scouting combine that concerns over his size are misplaced.

Saturday, Young officially measured at 5-foot-10 1/8 and weighed 204 pounds, which would make him the lightest Round 1 quarterback since at least 2006 and one of the shortest passers drafted since the AFL-NFL merger in 1967. Additionally, Young’s hand measurements came in at 9 and 3/4 of an inch.

Young, who had been listed at Alabama at 6 feet, 194 pounds, is the No. 1 ranked player by ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay and Scouts Inc. and the No. 4-ranked player on Mel Kiper 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 keep working my hardest. … I’m confident in myself, I know what I can do.”

Kyler Murray, who was selected by the Arizona Cardinals with the No. 1 overall pick of the 2019 draft, measured 5-10 1/8, 207 pounds, at the combine that year. Murray is the shortest first-round quarterback since 1967, and he’s tied for the lightest with Johnny Manziel, who was taken No. 22 overall in the 2014 draft. They are the only two quarterbacks drafted in the first round who were under 6 feet. Michael Vick, who was the No. 1 pick by the Atlanta Falcons in the 2001 draft, was 6 feet, 210 pounds at the 2001 combine, while Drew Brees was 6 feet, 213 pounds at the 2001 combine before he was the first pick of the second round by the then-San Diego Chargers.

Young’s physical dimensions did not impact his career at one of the college football powerhouses in what is considered the best conference in the nation. Young was a Heisman Trophy winner as well as Southeastern Conference Offensive Player of the year in 2021, as he threw 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 perhaps the most 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.

Friday, when he was asked what he might potentially weigh in at on Saturday, Young said “I’ve been in the 200-pound range and that’s been something that’s been not too hard to do.”

Young said Friday he had met formally with the Chicago Bears and the Houston Texans at the combine. The Bears have the No. 1 pick in April’s draft, while the Texans have the No. 2 and No. 12 picks.

Young said he has spoken to former Alabama quarterback and current New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones about the pre-draft process as well as “how to carry myself.” He said he has answered each question teams have asked as honestly as possible.

“My drive isn’t necessarily to prove anything,” Young said. “It’s, to me, to try to explain all of the things that I see to the coaches and GMs, all the decision-makers. To express myself about how I see the game, my experiences … to learn as well.

“I speak my truth. I make sure I explain how I play the game, how I see the game, my process. Obviously there’s good stuff on the film, on the board, just talking ball.”

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