Alabama’s Bryce Young and Stanford’s Tanner McKee have differing height concerns entering the 2023 NFL Draft.
Although Bryce Young is slated to be a top-two pick, he is not alone in being judged for his height throughout the NFL Draft process.
He is small in stature but plays bigger than his frame. While that could be off-putting to giant enthusiasts like Carolina Panthers head coach Frank Reich, the same principle can roughly apply to Stanford’s Tanner McKee. Unlike the former Alabama star, the 6-foot-5 quarterback might be tipping the scales to the extreme too much in the other direction for some NFL front offices’ liking.
One NFC coordinator said this about McKee to Tom Pelissero of The NFL Network anonymously.
“In the NFL 25 years ago, he probably had a chance to be the guy. He’s so f*****g big, and the list of 6-foot-5 QBs who have had success in this league is low. But he has some arm talent, I think he sees the field really well and makes really good decisions. (If) you can do those two things at this level and you’re on a good team with a decent coach, you should be a functional (No.) 2.”
McKee has arm talent, but is a statue in the pocket. Here is one NFC executive’s take on him.
“You saw (in 2021) that he has arm talent. This year, they couldn’t block anybody and he didn’t have an answer for it. He throws it well enough. I think it’s the mobility piece. Movement in the pocket, ability to escape and extend. Now, if you can really protect, maybe you feel confident about it, because he’s really smart, he’s diligent and he’s a really good kid. He’s (Davis) Mills with a little better arm, but not as mobile, not as good an athlete.”
Naturally, McKee was always going to be compared to his Stanford predecessor in Houston Texans starter Davis Mills. While Mills is probably going to be replaced by either Young or Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud at No. 2 overall on Thursday night, he can undoubtedly play in this league. Mills was a five-star coming out of high school in the Greater Atlanta Area, but McKee is nowhere near as mobile.
Without question, there are concerns when a quarterback is deemed to be too tall for the position.
Tanner McKee is dealing with height concerns not that far off from Bryce Young
If an NFL general manager wanted a picturesque prototype quarterback, he would be 6-foot-3, pushing 240 pounds with a rocket arm, great leadership skills, some mobility and two-to-three years worth of Power Five starts under his belt. Unfortunately, football is not about idealisms. You get to draft whatever college football provides you. The ingredients may not always be top shelf.
While fellow former Pac-12 standout Justin Herbert is every bit 6-foot-6, he is an absolute physical specimen. He drew favorable comparisons to Matthew Stafford coming out. Herbert’s arm strength and command of the offense are the biggest reasons why he can use his size to his advantage, while not being so heavily reliant on it. McKee just doesn’t have his ability to scramble.
When it comes to Herbert, everything looks proportional. He is incredibly athletic and it serves him at this stage of his promising NFL career. However, when quarterbacks do get above the 6-foot-5 threshold, things can be a little problematic for them physically. Mechanics can go in the toilet when trying to refine the throwing motion of a mountain of a man. Just look at Brock Osweiler…
Admittedly, I don’t think it is size or lack of mobility that has dinged McKee so much in the process. It has everything to do with how craptastic Stanford football has been since Mike Bloomgren left for Rice in 2018. As it turns out, he was the secret sauce in Palo Alto, and not necessarily David Shaw. McKee could be a fine NFL player, but he is every bit a trailer and not a tractor in this sense.
There are reasons why not many quarterbacks have success in the league who are over 6-foot-5.