Bryce Young has earned the right to be scrutinized.

Win a Heisman Trophy, lead a team to a national championship berth and close a career as, in my opinion, the best quarterback in Alabama history and yeah, scrutiny comes with the territory.

For Young, the pre-NFL Draft scrutiny isn’t about whether he has “character issues” or if he played in a gimmicky offense. His scrutiny isn’t about whether he’s a good leader or if he can read defenses.

Nope. It’s about his size. As we know with the NFL Draft, size matters.

You’ll notice that I said “the NFL Draft” and not just “the NFL.” Why? Far too often in this process, we get consumed by measureables. What’s his hand size? How did he do on the Wonderlic? Is he really 6-1 or is he 5-11?

As we approach the NFL Combine, Young’s height and weight will continue to be a popular topic of conversation. If you’re waiting on where he clocks in at to determine how you feel about Young’s NFL potential, I’ve got news for you.

You’re part of the problem.

To be clear, there’s a difference between having some concern over Young’s size as opposed to telling yourself that there’s some sort of minimum threshold he needs to meet in order to be worthy of the No. 1 overall pick. It’s perfectly fair to at least question Young’s frame, which is different from that of shorter quarterbacks like Kyler Murray, Russell Wilson and Drew Brees, all of whom weighed in somewhere between 204-213 pounds at the NFL Combine. Young, at least to the naked eye, is more narrow than those signal-callers.

The naked eye should be part of the evaluation with Young. At no point could you ever watch him against SEC competition and say “he’s too small.” He doesn’t get balls batted at the line of scrimmage because he moves the pocket, he protects himself well inside the pocket and he understands his physical limitations. Could Young run more? Sure, but he’s also well aware that he exposes himself to greater punishment when he takes off past the line of scrimmage.

In 2 years as a starter, Young suffered 1 injury that forced him to miss a start. It was a play that had nothing to do with his size. If anything, it was more about his early-Ben Roethlisberger-like ability to extend plays with his legs while keeping his eyes downfield. This shoulder injury could’ve happened to Young even if he was built like Joe Milton:

Young landed awkwardly. He missed the rest of that game and the following game against A&M.

The laziest take about Young’s size might be “well, we don’t know how he’ll hold up if he actually starts getting hit.”

Um, go back to 2021 Alabama. Young took 39 sacks. Sam Howell was the only Power 5 quarterback who took more sacks than Young that season. In fact, look at the last 2 seasons. Young took 57 sacks and missed 1 of a possible 28 starts. Will Levis, who is seen as the more durable prospect because of his frame, took 58 sacks and missed 2 of a possible 26 starts (though 1 was the bowl game he opted out of after an injury-plagued 2022 season). That’s a lot closer than what the casual fan might realize.

(By the way, after taking that hit, Young stayed in and finished the day with 455 passing yards on 52 attempts.)

Yes, it’s true that Levis welcomed more contact than Young, but it’s also undeniable that despite that nearly identical number of sacks taken, Young adapted better to his surroundings.

That’s what Young will be tasked to do at the next level. He can bloat up to 205 pounds to make front offices and NFL Draft Twitter breathe a sigh of relief, but if wolfing down protein shakes all week leading up to a weigh-in shows anything, it’s that Young isn’t about to let anything get in his way of succeeding at the next level.

Young is the rare case of a 5-star quarterback who came to college with immense buildup and then exceeded those expectations. In the past decade, how many quarterbacks can we truly say that about? For me, that list would be Young, Trevor Lawrence, Justin Fields, Jameis Winston, Murray and Caleb Williams. Lawrence and Fields were the only guys of that group who were rated higher as recruits than Young, though it was Young who got the Heisman Trophy.

I know, I know. College stats don’t project to NFL success. There’s a reason if you look at the 3 all-time leaders in FBS touchdown passes, 2 went undrafted and 1 went in the 6th round.

If Young’s evaluation was simply related to his 79-12 TD-INT ratio as a starter, his size wouldn’t be discussed by anyone. We need nuance. We need context. Context is reminding skeptics about the less-than-vintage Alabama offensive line the past 2 seasons. It’s also remembering that for the first time in more than a decade, 2022 Alabama lacked a game-breaking receiver. Young might’ve worn the same jersey but to say he had the same help as Tua Tagovailoa would be completely inaccurate. The former’s best moments were dropping it in a bucket within the flow of the offense or extending plays and delivering on-target throws from anywhere on the field:

You can roll your eyes at anyone who compares Young to Pat Mahomes or even Steph Curry, but those who have watched the Alabama quarterback these past 2 years know that he’s special.

That won’t change if Young measures in at 5-10, 190 pounds. If that somehow overshadows everything you’ve seen of him and you believe he’s destined for an injury-shortened career, that’s on you. I don’t know why 2 inches and 10-15 pounds is a deal-breaker.

If Young isn’t the first quarterback off the board and selected in the first 2 picks — I’d still bet on the Bears trading out of No. 1 overall — someone will have wildly overthought this.

Scrutiny is one thing. Insanity is another.