Young, Stroud defend against criticisms at NFL combine

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Ohio State quarterback CJ Stroud speaks during a news conference at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Friday, March 3, 2023. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

INDIANAPOLIS – Bryce Young has no doubt he can stay healthy in the NFL, and C.J. Stroud believes he'll move around just fine.

Yes, the two quarterbacks generally regarded as the best in this year's draft class had a simple message for the critics Friday — think again.

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Young and Stroud took the main stage at the NFL's annual scouting combine Friday morning going first and second at Podium 1 in the interview room. It's a sequence that could be mirrored — or reversed — at the April 27 draft.

Doubters of the 2021 Heisman Trophy winner contend Young may be susceptible to injuries in the NFL and could struggle to replicate the success he had at Alabama because of his size. He was listed at 6-feet, 194 pounds at Alabama, though some thought he would be measured at 5-10 in Indianapolis.

Young responded quietly but bluntly that he's always played well despite being on the smaller side and that he would be comfortable with a playing weight of 200 pounds.

Stroud, meanwhile, has been knocked because he didn't run much at Ohio State. But in last season's playoff semifinal against eventual national champion Georgia, Stroud took off more than usual and played perhaps the best game of his career with the Buckeyes.

At 6-3, 218 pounds, he may be the safer pick and Stroud suggested he also would be the better pick.

The other top quarterback prospects, including Will Levis of Kentucky and Anthony Richardson of Florida, and the full slate of receivers and tight ends were scheduled to meet with reporters later Friday.


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