This is the first of many quick profiles that I’ll write for prospects that I analyze ahead of the 2023 NFL Draft. My feelings on prospects, as well as my Grade and Pro Comp, are subject to change as I watch and learn more about them in the Draft process…but these are my initial takeaways.
The Good: Young is an exciting prospect, and not only because he’s an escape artist in the pocket who can find a throwing lane from anywhere behind the line of scrimmage. Young is advanced at reading the field for his age, both pre-snap and as the live play breaks down. He absolutely shreds zone coverages and his general sense of timing is strong. I love that his eyes consistently start downfield, which allows him to anticipate and complete low-percentage throws. He’s quick to move through his progressions, and he almost never misses a throw to the short and intermediate levels of the field. Young is poised and extremely tough, and he handled himself well against most of the bigger and stronger defenses that he faced (including twice against 2021 Georgia).
The Bad: Young is so small that his size will make him a historical outlier, and he doesn’t have the thick build or speed of other small QBs taken near the top of the draft either. His arm strength is subpar too; he doesn’t consistently throw with drive and there isn’t much power behind it. Maybe I have heard one too many comparisons to Russell Wilson, but I expected better deep passing from Young. He has a fair share of underthrows and outright misses on deep balls. Young is self-aware of his physical limitations, but they are limitations nonetheless that do show up on tape. He has a few bad habits – holding onto the ball for too long, taking extra steps in his drops, etc. The magic moments are offset by plenty of avoidable sacks, which naturally could cause concern at his size.
The Bottom Line: Bryce Young’s size will dominate the narrative over the next few months, and as annoying as it will inevitably become…it’s fair. I foresee the typical talking point becoming something along the lines of “he’s a near perfect prospect aside from the fact that he’s 195 pounds,” but that’s just not true. Young has areas for improvement; fortunately, they are things that are largely fixable/learnable. Preferably, he begins 2023 on the bench. His arrow is pointing up after his 2022-23 season at Alabama, as weird as that sounds after he won the Heisman Trophy in 2021-2022. Young stepped up his game when it came to creation, all without sacrificing efficiency or accuracy. I’d like to see him end up in an offense that routinely gets him on the move and allows him to throw on the run, which is the most exciting element of his game to me. He’s not system-proof but he does have star potential.
Grade: Mid First Round
Pro Comp: Mark Brunell
- Miami 2021
- Florida 2021
- Ole Miss 2021
- Texas A&M 2021
- LSU 2021
- Arkansas 2021
- Auburn 2021
- Georgia 2021 (SEC Championship Game)
- Cincinnati 2021
- Georgia 2021 (National Championship Game)
- Utah State 2022
- Texas 2022
- Tennessee 2022
- LSU 2022
- Kansas State 2022 (Sugar Bowl)