How tall is Alabama QB Bryce Young, and will his size be an issue as he transitions to the NFL? Young is one of the most exciting and polarizing 2023 NFL Draft quarterback prospects because of this issue, and even after the Combine, the conversation still rages on.
How Tall Is Alabama QB Bryce Young?
For most of the 2023 NFL Draft cycle, we didn’t have a definitive answer, as to how tall Young was. Speculation ran wild for months on end before official measurements were finally provided at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.
At the NFL Combine, Young measured in at 5’10 1/8″ and 204 pounds. That measurement put him around roughly the same height as Kyler Murray, the Arizona Cardinals’ first overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft cycle.
It’s not uncommon for college teams to boost their players’ listed height and weight measurements, and that was the case for Young. At Alabama, Young was listed as 6’0″ and 194 pounds. He ended up measuring almost a full two inches shorter, although that was the expectation for most evaluators.
Does Young’s Height Matter in His Evaluation as a QB?
Whether he measured in at 5’9″, 5’10”, or 5’11”, we’ve known for a long time that Young’s size was going to be a big talking point in the 2023 NFL Draft cycle. No matter his exact measurement, he comes in well below average when compared to starting NFL QBs.
Young is a big outlier, and that can be scary. But it’s important to discuss how important it actually is for his prospects of succeeding as a quarterback. The answer will vary for NFL teams. Some teams may take him off their board entirely because he doesn’t fit their prototype. But looking at Young’s Alabama tape, there’s reason to believe he can be an exception.
There are two concerns that come with Young’s size. He might not be able to see throwing lanes as well behind taller offensive linemen, and he might not be able to hold up against prolonged NFL contact.
The tape alleviates the first concern easily, as Young has proven himself to be very adept at not only seeing the field but also creating throwing lanes for himself, using his creative instincts and short-area mobility.
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The more concerning measurement for Young might ultimately be his weight. He weighed 204 pounds at the NFL Combine, but that won’t be his actual playing weight in the NFL. There’s some speculation that he played as light as 180 in college, and he’ll likely be closer to 190 pounds with his lean frame.
Will Young be able to hold up at that weight? That’s a more pressing question than the one surrounding his height. But in college, despite encountering frequent pressure from SEC defenses, Young never had major durability issues. Injuries can be difficult to project, regardless of size. Thus, it’ll be up to each individual team, as to how willing they are to take that risk.
One cycle ago, the measurement that got the most press for quarterbacks was hand size, when Pittsburgh Steelers QB Kenny Pickett came in with an outlier hand size of 8 1/2″. At the very least, Young doesn’t have this problem. With 9 3/4″ hands, he’ll have no problems gripping the football in adverse conditions at the next level.
Confidence in Young Persists Amidst Size Questions
There’s no magic wand that will make the concerns about Young’s outlier build disappear. But throughout the cycle, he’s commanded a kind of confidence in spite of his size and has exuded it wherever he’s gone. At the NFL Combine, in response to the concerns, Young said simply: “I’ve been this size my whole life.”
That’s ultimately the size at which Young became a legend at Mater Dei and a five-star recruit. That’s the size at which he started for two seasons, won a national championship for Alabama, and led the Crimson Tide to the College Football Playoff. And that’s the size at which he won the Heisman Trophy in 2021.
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Young’s size has never precluded him from accomplishing great things, and that’s because he has the elite intangibles to counteract his limitations and complement his strengths. Many have spoken about these intangibles, but no one describes them better than Young’s college coach, Nick Saban.
“Bryce is the calm in the midst of chaos,” Saban has said of Young. “It comes from his great preparation. When he goes into the game, he kind of trusts that things are going to work for him because of the work that he’s put in, the preparation that he’s made, and the confidence he has in the people around him.”
That confidence showed all through the 2022 campaign, when Young put his team on his back week in and week out and created positive plays when nothing was there. That ability is what will earn him a chance to prove himself as a franchise QB.