HomeSportsComparing Bryce Young to Kyler Murray is lazy, according to NFL Draft...

Comparing Bryce Young to Kyler Murray is lazy, according to NFL Draft evaluators

INDIANAPOLIS — As soon as the height and weight numbers trickled down Saturday morning for Alabama quarterback Bryce Young, the predictable avalanche of comparison rumbled behind them.

Standing 5-foot-10 and 1/8 inch tall. Weighing in at 204 lbs. Cue the social media jukebox and set it to replay…

Just like Kyler Murraywho registered the exact same length with the NFL combine in 2019 and only gained three pounds in weight.

A lazy comparison?

“Absolutely,” an NFC West talent evaluator told Yahoo Sports.

“That was what we expected,” agreed another reviewer, who spent a lot of time recruiting both Young and Murray. “We know [the similarities] even if the fans didn’t.”

In a world of NFL Draft study seemingly always looking for road maps for comparison, Alabama’s Young has long seemed destined to fall into the 2019 “Murray conundrum” — a debate that weighs elite-level quarterback talent against the risk of suboptimal size.

Murray took on that burden four years ago when the Arizona Cardinals targeted the former Oklahoma quarterback with the No. 1 overall pick, focusing part of their assessment by mapping him against stature-deficient QBs like the now retired Drew Brees and Russell Wilson.

Alabama quarterback Bryce Young measured at 5-foot-10 1/8, 204 pounds at the NFL scouting combine, tempting people to compare him to NFL QBs like Kyler Murray and Drew Brees. Now the debate can begin over which NFL QB to compare him to. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

At the end of that road, Murray was deemed worth the risk of not having the ideal quarterback size, resulting in his selection with the first pick. Yeah, he wasn’t in the league’s QB wheelhouse that falls somewhere around 6-4 and 225 pounds. But Murray’s overall skills were special enough that the Cardinals rolled the dice that he was one of the historic outliers.

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Now, four seasons and a handful of injuries later, Murray’s dice roll has been met with mixed reviews. Arguably one of the league’s most dynamic playmakers when performing at his peak, the questions that now haunt Murray have centered around his leadership and inability to go seasons without some impactful injury. Despite those lingering questions, he was awarded a five-year, $230.5 million contract extension, cementing his status as a player who defines the “extraordinary” class of quarterbacks. And in doing so, he joins Brees and Wilson’s class in pushing Young’s evaluation against historical predecessors.

But as was the case when comparing Murray to Brees and Wilson in 2019, reviewers roll their eyes at those who draw a direct line between Young and Murray.

“Size is the only thing they have in common,” the NFC West reviewer said.

That opinion was not an anomaly either. Seven judges from different teams all advanced some version of the same conclusion: Aside from height and weight, Murray and Young have dramatic differences in their game and skill level, with some favoring Murray and others favoring Young . And even when it comes to that size comparison, predicting a similar injury path is tricky at best because teams also don’t see them as built to handle some of the same rigors.

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“Height and weight aren’t even accurate [predictor] when you’re discussing how you feel about the likelihood of an injury,” said an NFC general manager. “Drew [Brees] and Russell [Wilson] side by side – not to beat Drew, but Russell looks like he can take a beating. Drew looks like he’s into competitive cycling. Now put those two next to Cam Newton in a draft. S***, Cam looked like he could have been a defensive target. And everyone would have been wrong about who would be sustainable among those three. Partly because of how each man played the position. We can’t ignore that. But that will also be the same with Bryce Young and Kyler Murray.

Asked to dissect the differences between Young and Murray if they really aren’t comparable players beyond their size, there was consensus on almost every point. Murray was rated as a more elite athlete – with a better arm, better athleticism and a more evasive running style. He’s also a player who teams thought represented a correct weight when he came in at 207 pounds in 2019.

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“Kyler is more physically gifted across the board,” said an AFC general manager. “Bryce is the more skilled passer and mature person and professional. I think Bryce will be better when he’s in the field, but I wonder if he’ll hold up from a durability standpoint without elite physical properties to escape. I bet he didn’t play [at Alabama] at 204. I think he will fill in as he gets older later in his career.

Alabama quarterback Bryce Young (far right) watches QB practice in the NFL combine with Purdue's Aidan O'Connell (far left), Florida's Anthony Richardson (second from left) and Ohio State QB CJ Stroud in Indianapolis, Saturday, March 4, 2023 (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

Alabama quarterback Bryce Young (far right) watches QB practice Saturday in the NFL combine with Purdue’s Aidan O’Connell (far left), Florida’s Anthony Richardson (second from left) and Ohio State QB CJ Stroud in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

While Murray was seen as the more elite athlete in the evaluations, Young’s leadership appears to be part of the assessment drawing raves that Murray did not.

“He has leadership skills and character without drama,” said one reviewer. “[Bryce] also looks more like Drew Brees in that he plays bigger than his size from the pocket. Look at Bryce’s throwing move and tell me it doesn’t look like Drew Brees anymore.

In that vein, all reviewers seemed to agree: if Young is realistically compared to anyone, Murray is just noise in the system caused by the similarities in weight and height. The better comparison might be to remove the two completely from each other.

It seems this story is about seeing where Young stacks up against Wilson and Brees, rather than how he fits in next to Murray or any of the quarterbacks in the class of 2023.

As one reviewer put it, “In four years we can see [Young] as if he was a great companion to no one before him. He’s probably a little different from all of them.”

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