Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Bryce Young arrived at the NFL Combine with football fans and draft analysts eagerly waiting to see his measurements. While Young is the projected No. 1 pick in 2023 NFL mock drafts, his frame was a legitimate concern entering the pre-draft process.
Young came in at nearly the identical height and weight as Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray. Considering many believe Young is a better pure passer than Murray, the measurements likely will be enough for an NFL team like the Indianapolis Colts, Las Vegas Raiders or Houston Texans to trade up for the former Heisman Trophy winner.
- Bryce Young stats: 162.4 QB rating, 75-12 TD-INT, 8.7 ypa, 8,035 pass yards, 7 rush TDs
Related: ESPN analyst compares Bryce Young to all-time great
However, the NFL Combine is also a gathering place for executives and scouts around the league to evaluate the process. While the public’s size concerns with Young might’ve been eased, NFL teams came away from Indianapolis with the same impression of him they had before the combine.
Senior NFL reporter Charles Robinson provided an in-depth report from the NFL Combine on how executives and general managers viewed Young. In the reporting, one AFC general manager believed Young will be a better quarterback than Murray, but with an important caveat.
“Kyler is more physically gifted across the board. Bryce is the more skilled passer and mature person and professional. I think Bryce will be better when he is in the field but I question whether he will hold up from a durability standpoint without elite physical traits to escape. I would bet he didn’t play [at Alabama] at 204. I think he’ll fill in as he gets older later in his career.”AFC general manager on Bryce Young vs Kyler Murray
The anonymous AFC general manager and his peers have a point. When Murray went to the 2019 NFL Combine, he received a 99 athleticism score from NFL.com and teams believe he could run a 4.4 40-yard dash. Elite athleticism is what helps Murray evade pressure in the pocket, allowing him to get out of sacks and limit the volume of big hits on his smaller frame.
- Bryce Young height: 5-foot-10
Related: Bryce Young losing momentum for No. 1 pick
Young falls short of that. The former Alabama star earned an 82 athleticism grade from NFL.com and is not nearly as fast or elusive as Murray. It puts him at risk of taking more substantial hits and multiple NFL executives told Robinson that they don’t believe 204 pounds is Young’s true playing weight when it matters.
In regard to the other small quarterbacks – Russell Wilson and Drew Brees – Wilson entered the NFL with the play strength and bulk that offered confidence in his longevity. While Brees is thinner, he also played the majority of his career in a dome and his previous stint with the Los Angeles Chargers was derailed by injuries.
Young will still likely be the No. 1 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, he is more advanced as a passer than any other quarterback prospect and teams like his maturity, leadership and football IQ a lot more than Murray’s.
However, even the team that drafts him will have some concern for Young’s longevity and the conversation will likely be revisited in four years when he’s ready for a contract extension and could become one of the highest-paid NFL quarterbacks.