INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Bryce Young provided one answer Saturday at the NFL’s annual scouting combine: He stands 5-foot-10 1/8 inches and weighs 204 pounds.
Next question: Will his small frame hurt his draft stock?
Team scouts and decision-makers now have nearly eight weeks to debate whether to make Young the first quarterback — or the first player — selected in the April draft.
Typically, teams want their franchise quarterbacks to be several inches taller and perhaps a little heavier to avoid injuries. Instead, Young would be one of the league’s smallest quarterbacks.
He doesn’t believe it’s a big deal, though he was listed at 6-0, 194 in college.
“I’ve been this size my whole life. I know who I am, I know what I can do,” Young said Friday when asked about the size issue.
The 2021 Heisman Trophy winner from Alabama has all the other prototypical tools that franchises seek — strong arm, quick release, good accuracy, mobility, and a knack for making big plays, even on the move.
The closest comparisons might be to Kyler Murray, whom Arizona took with the top overall pick in 2019, and Russell Wilson, a third-round pick in 2012 who led Seattle to its only Super Bowl title before landing in Denver last season.
And while the quarterbacks, tight ends and receivers were scheduled to do their on-field drills Saturday in Indianapolis, Young had said he wouldn’t join them. The next time scouts will see Young will be at Alabama’s scheduled pro day.
Many draft analysts believe Young, former Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud, former Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter and linebacker Will Anderson Jr. of Alabama are the four players vying to be selected No. 1 overall.
Defensive tackle Jalen Carter didn’t speak with reporters in Indianapolis after being charged earlier this week with reckless driving and racing in Georgia. Two people were killed in the crash, including a teammate.
As the final interviews took place Saturday, Bulldogs offensive lineman Broderick Jones spoke in support of Carter.
“Great guy, we hang out outside of football,” Jones said. “When we first met, he was a great dude, real chill, real calm, cool and collected, like nothing going on. He didn’t do too much, just sat around, you know, not into everything that goes on in life. He doesn’t do too much. He stays to himself, doesn’t bother anybody.”
Offensive lineman Cody Mauch came to the combine carrying 303 pounds. But it’s what the former North Dakota State player was missing — two front teeth — that got everyone biting.
Mauch explained they were pulled in an emergency room after he collided with a friend during a seventh-grade basketball game and the teeth got knocked loose. The intended repairs didn’t work, either, because either the replacements broke or Mauch lost his retainers.
Eventually, he decided to go without, giving him the trademark look of a hockey player — or Hall of Fame linebacker Ray Nitschke, who also played toothless in green and gold.
“I say that I’m going to get them fixed after football, but I don’t even know if I ever will. It’s kind of just part of me,” he said. “I think every team, every person I talked to here has had some kind of question about it.”
Paris Johnson Jr. of Ohio State is ranked as one of the top offensive tackles in this year’s draft. But occasionally, he makes a mistake, and he acknowledged Saturday that he made one during an interview with the Bears.
Chicago officials have been asking players whether they’d rather putt golf balls or throw darts. Johnson figured he’d be better off with the dart board. That’s when the problems began.
He watched someone in front of him throw three darts — two nearly hit the bull’s eye and the third did. Johnson’s turn didn’t go quite as well.
“The first two hit like some snacks in the corner and I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, they’re going to end this meeting,’” Johnson said before describing the third shot. “It hit the board, so I was happy. I should have probably chosen golf.”
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