• Bryce Young has a proven track record: His college play and production is outstanding. That’s not unique to him, but doing it for a program like Alabama in the SEC is certainly worth more than doing it for a smaller college in a worse conference.
• Poised under pressure: The Bama signal-caller took a sack on just 12.5% of his pressured dropbacks in college, an extremely low rate, while his 69.6 pressured-passing grade and 9.3 yards per attempt while under pressure both ranked second at the position.
• An elite anticipation thrower: Young throws with so much anticipation that he can often offset any issues he might have in getting a clear field of vision. His ability to adjust within the pocket with both subtle movements and significant athletic ability also helps him keep all areas of the field alive.
Estimated reading time: 6 minutes
Bryce Young should be the No. 1 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. There, I said it.
Projecting players from the college ranks to the NFL is an inexact science. All we can do is look at as many data points as possible — statistics, tape, interviews and everything in between — and come up with a best guess, even if that best guess is a data model.
And now the Carolina Panthers have the biggest decision in the draft, as they have to decide which quarterback to select after trading up to No. 1 overall.
Even within that question, there are smaller questions to answer. Are we chasing the biggest upside? The highest floor? The best median outcome within the range? And with the quarterbacks being as varied as they are this season in terms of skill sets and attributes, this is an unusually complex question to answer.
Ultimately, I think Young represents the best composite of whatever any team is chasing.
Let’s start with the obvious: His college play and production is outstanding. That’s not unique to Young, but doing it for a program like Alabama in the SEC is certainly worth more than doing it for a smaller college in a worse conference. The Crimson Tide quarterback also had less help around him than other recent first-round quarterbacks from the same system.
Young earned PFF grades of at least 91.5 in both 2021 and 2022, his two years as a starter. He averaged 8.8 yards per attempt and had an absurdly low 2.0% turnover-worthy play rate in both years.
He is outstandingly accurate, extremely mistake-averse and makes more than enough big plays to rival elite prospects.
Bryce Young: College Passing metrics and rank among 28 first-round quarterbacks since 2016*
|PFF passing grade||92.7||4th|
|Big-time throw rate||6.0%||13th|
|Turnover-worthy play rate||2.2%||T-2nd|
|Yards per attempt||8.8||T-11th|
|Adjusted completion percentage||78.0%||3rd|
|Passer rating under pressure||98.3||5th|
* C.J. Stroud, Will Levis and Anthony Richardson also included
The 21-year-old also shows well in several advanced statistical categories. He took a sack on just 12.5% of his pressured dropbacks in college, an extremely low rate, while his 69.6 pressured-passing grade and 9.3 yards per attempt while under pressure both ranked second at the position.
Using virtually any statistical measure, Young fits the billing as the top pick of the draft, but now we need to address the elephant in the room — his size.
After being listed at 6-feet and 194 pounds at Alabama, Young officially measured in at a little over 5-foot-10, and there isn’t a person in the NFL who believes the 204 pounds he weighed in at is anything more than water weight or artificial mass he has no chance of maintaining as a playing weight.
If we give him full credit for his Alabama list weight, a 5-foot-10 quarterback weighing less than 195 pounds isn't just unprecedented; it makes him an extreme outlier in terms of size.
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