Bryce Young is the current favorite to be the top pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, but here’s one factor that could cause teams to hesitate.
It’s always hard to predict which players will be the top picks in the NFL Draft a full year ahead of time. This time last year, many believed that it would have been Spencer Rattler or Sam Howell. However, those predictions couldn’t have been much further off than how things actually played out.
Howell plummeted to the fifth round of the 2022 NFL Draft where he eventually found a home as a backup quarterback for the Washington Commanders while Rattler ended up losing his starting job early in the 2021 season and was forced to transfer to South Carolina.
I don’t foresee the same happening with Bryce Young. The Alabama star quarterback was spectacular during his first season as a starter. Over the course of 15 games in 2021, Young racked up 4,872 passing yards to go with a whopping 47 touchdowns and just 7 interceptions.
His accuracy and poise from the pocket were both remarkable and his 10.0 adjusted yards per attempt are well above the threshold that teams look for. Additionally, Alabama has had a pretty good track record in recent years when it comes to producing first-round quarterback prospects, and Young might just be the best of the bunch.
However, there is one major factor that teams could consider when it comes to whether or not they view Young as the top prospect (or even top quarterback) next year.
Young’s height could affect his 2023 NFL Draft status
There are a number of impressive traits that stand out when I watch Bryce Young play. However, I’d be lying if I said his height wasn’t at all concerning.
Though Young is listed at 6-feet on the dot, according to his profile page on Alabama’s official statistics website, there are rumors that he is going to come in under this number. In fact, some have claimed that they wouldn’t be surprised to see him fall short of the 5’11” mark.
While this wouldn’t be the end of the world for a player as talented as Bryce Young, it certainly wouldn’t improve his draft stock. Even in a rapidly-changing NFL that is producing smaller, more athletic pro quarterback prospects, some teams tend to steer clear of players who are this undersized.
In addition to falling short of many teams’ height threshold at the QB position, Young is also likely to miss the mark in terms of his weight. RollTide.com has him listed at just 194 pounds.
We have seen some small quarterbacks work out in the NFL before, but the samples are few and far between. Russell Wilson ended up having terrific success as a professional despite entering the league at just 5’11” and 204 pounds. Most recently, Kyler Murray has had an impressive start to his NFL career despite weighing in at the NFL Combine at just 5’10” and 207 pounds.
In Murray’s case, his severe lack of height at the quarterback position didn’t sway the Cardinals away from selecting him with the first overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. Murray has had some impressive seasons early in his career as well.
However, if the evaluation is close between Bryce Young and another prominent QB prospect like C.J. Stroud, I can see teams preferring the passer with a few more inches to see over the offensive line at the next level.
I think Bryce Young is a terrific quarterback prospect and should be in contention for the number one overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. However, it will be interesting to see if he does indeed measure in under 6’0” and if his lack of height at the QB position will affect his draft status.