Bryce Young Draft Profile
After a prolific career with the Alabama Crimson Tide, Bryce Young is projected to be the first quarterback taken in the 2023 NFL draft. Born and raised in Southern California, Young attended Cathedral High school before transferring to Mater Dei as a junior. At Mater Dei, Young had a highly touted rivalry with former Clemson QB DJ Uiagalelei who was attending St. John Bosco. The two finished with an even high school record against one another at 2-2 before becoming the top two recruits in the country in 2020. In his senior year at Mater Dei, Young won LA Times’ Player of the Year, California’s Gatorade Player of the Year, and USA Today’s Offensive Player of the Year. As a freshman at Alabama, Young sat behind Mac Jones and watched him win the National Championship. After Jones was drafted by the Patriots in 2021, Young took over as starting quarterback for the Crimson Tide and won the Heisman trophy before ultimately losing to Georgia in the National Championship. This past season, Young led Alabama to a Sugar bowl victory against Kansas State and was named the most valuable player of the game. Joe Burrow and Trevor Lawrence are the last two guys that have entered the draft after winning just about every award possible in college; they are now two of the best young quarterbacks in the NFL. I anticipate Young having a similar career trajectory, but let’s find out why.
It’s rare to find a quarterback who is as well rounded as Bryce Young coming out of college; he is the total package from intelligence to athletic ability to overall toughness and leadership. The first question I generally ask myself when evaluating a quarterback is, “can he sling it?” When it comes to Young, the answer is yes; whether it’s from a clean pocket, on the run, or with a defender in his face, Young has every throw in his Rolodex. In order to operate Nick Saban and Bill O’Brien’s offense, the quarterback needs to be extremely cerebral. Decisiveness and intelligence are apparent when watching him go through his progressions. The trait that stands out most when watching Young play is his reactive athleticism. As soon as Young dissects the defense, he finds his open target and fires. He doesn’t overthink it, he reminds me of Klay Thompson in that sense. Thompson is the king of finding an opening on the perimeter and shooting without even taking a dribble; it’s catch and shoot. For Young, it’s as soon as he finds the hole in the defense the ball is out. His ability to anticipate and react to what the defense is giving him makes him so special. The reactive athleticism is also apparent when he’s in the pocket; the way he moves is like poetry in motion. His combination of quickness and awareness give Young an incredible feel for setting up his blockers and making defenders miss behind the line of scrimmage. While he is capable of picking up chunk yards with his legs, Young’s mobility is most effective as a scrambler. The most special thing about Young’s athleticism is how quickly he is able to reset his base, especially when he’s on the move. He does a great job at extending plays by keeping his eye’s downfield and improvising with off-schedule throws. Mechanically speaking, Young has a very smooth delivery from the torso-up; it’s quick, there’s good shoulder turn, his elbow doesn’t dip, and he’s shown the ability to throw from different angles. In his drop, his feet are calm, but they have just the right amount of urgency in case he needs to break the pocket. Young has all the physical capabilities in the world to be an MVP-caliber quarterback.
Like I said, Young is the total package athletically and intelligently speaking; but he’s also a natural born leader. He waited his turn at Alabama and Coach Saban— who doesn’t just give out compliments, goes out of his way to praise Young’s leadership. There is a stoic feel to Young when he plays— he doesn’t get too high or too low; he’s consistently calm. He steps up in the biggest moments, he calls audibles, and changes the protection at the line of scrimmage. After not qualifying for the college football playoffs in 2022, Young chose to play the bowl game to finish the season with his teammates rather than opt-ing out and preparing for the draft. That shows fearlessness, respect for his teammates, and his love of the game of football. Young elevates the play of his teammates and is a guy that will bring winning with him to whichever team drafts him.
While Bryce Young is an extremely polished prospect, there is room for him to grow from a mechanics standpoint. His follow through is extremely inconsistent from the hips down. He doesn’t consistently step into his throws and transfer his weight. A lot of the time he’ll leave his foot in the air— but it’s extremely exciting to imagine him being able to throw with even more velocity. This is something that can be coached into him. Even though he tends to remain composed against pressure, defenses have found success against him when bringing heat from the outside. Forcing him to step into interior penetration is where he takes most of his sacks. He also benefited from playing behind one of the best offensive lines in college football; I’m curious to see if he’ll be able to make plays against teams who generate pressure with just four-man rushes. Listed at 5’10, I anticipate most of Young’s media criticism will be in regards to his height. Usually smaller quarterbacks tend to avoid throwing towards the middle of the field because they can’t see over their offensive line. While Young definitely prefers throwing towards the outside, I didn’t see enough of a discrepancy to cause much of a concern when watching him on film and looking at his heat map. If Young gets paired with a good offensive line and a quarterback coach that cleans up his footwork during his follow through, I believe Young is capable of turning a franchise around.
Bryce Young is a home run pick for which ever team gets the opportunity to take him. Whether it be Aidan Hutchinson, Trevor Lawrence, Joe Burrow, or whomever; every year we seemingly get “bored” of talking about the top prospect, and I anticipate Young will get the same treatment. Antics will get nit-picky because he is the closest thing to being a “sure-thing” in this year’s draft. Whether it be his accuracy on the deep ball, magician-like ability to extend plays, or consistent ability to never get too high or too low, Young reminds me a lot of a younger Russell Wilson. He doesn’t run the ball as much as Wilson used to and isn’t as “stocky”, but he’s more willing to throw the ball towards the middle of the field and is a little bit more decisive. I hate the term “pro-ready” because every young quarterback is going to have a steep learning curve when getting to the NFL, but Young is as close to a “pro-ready” prospect as there is. He’s a franchise quarterback, a day-one starter, and a guy who I’d be thrilled about taking number one overall.
Natural Arm Talent: 10.5/12
Natural Leadership: 9.5/10
Decision Making + Eyes + Anticipation: 9/10
Pocket Presence: 7.25/8
Athleticism + Mobility: 6.75/8
Deep Ball: 5.25/6
Feet + Base: 5/6
Throwing Motion: 4.5/6
Toughness + Fearlessness: 5.5/6
Final Rating: 88
Pro Comparison: Russell Wilson
Draft Projection: Top 3 Pick
Draft Grade: Top 3 Player
Team Fits: Texans, Raiders