Does Size Matter? A Look at the Candidates for NFL Draft First Pick


The University of Alabama | Wikimedia Commons

Victoria Lisi, Sports Editor

The NFL off-season continues to have fans in anticipation as teams continue to build their rosters for the 2023 season.

With the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft on April 27, three players stand out as being the potential top picks in this year’s draft class.

One player to keep an eye on is Alabama’s Bryce Young. The 2021 Heisman trophy winner led his team to an 11-2 overall record, culminating with a five-touchdown performance in the bowl win against Kansas State.

Over the past two seasons at Alabama, Young completed over 64% of his passes and threw for over 8,000 yards, with 79 touchdowns and only 12 interceptions.

Young seems to always play his best in the biggest games. He has great pocket presence and keeps his eyes down the field. Young is also poised and never seems to be phased by the situation or scenario.

In 2021 against the Auburn Tigers, Young led the team to a comeback win in a four overtime game.

In 2022, his 19-yard scramble in the fourth quarter led to the game winning field goal against the Texas Longhorns.

While Young’s height has been scrutinized, as he is only 5-foot-10, many experts now believe that he will be the top pick.

Young possesses the intangibles necessary for the next level.

Another top quarterback in this year’s class is Ohio State’s CJ Stroud. Stroud’s size at 6-foot-3 and 218 pounds make him Young’s main competitor.

A two-time Heisman Trophy finalist, Stroud ranked second nationally in 2022 for touchdown passes at 41 and set five Rose Bowl game records in the win against Utah two seasons ago.

Stroud elevated his draft status after the semifinal playoff loss to the Georgia Bulldogs.

Stroud sliced and diced the Bulldogs secondary for 348 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions.

Stroud showed that he could lead under pressure, answering the question that needed to be answered by many scouts and general managers around the league.

Both players make strong candidates, but with differing advantages.

It has been rumored that Stroud’s stature, at 6-foot-3 and 218 pounds, aligns better with the Panthers’ typical QB demographic, as Carolina’s coach Frank Reid has not worked with someone under 6-foot-2 in the past 17 years.

Given that Young is 5-foot-10, Stroud may be a safer choice for the Panthers who are accustomed to bigger players.

However, Young’s ability to keep his composure and maintain his poise makes him a great fit for the Panthers.

With both players having great physical qualities and the draft only days away, the showdown for the first pick is merely seeing how the chips fall into place.