Is Alabama quarterback Bryce Young the top quarterback prospect in the 2023 NFL Draft? Let’s dive in to his scouting report.
Name: Bryce Young
Weight: 190 pounds
Bryce Young was the top-ranked dual threat quarterback in the consensus out of high school. A five star prospect, Young went to the All-American Bowl, winning Offensive MVP. He also won the Gatorade Football Player of the Year in California and accounted for 178 total touchdowns in his high school career.
At Alabama, the awards continued. He won a Heisman in his first year as the starter for Alabama and set single season passing records for yards (4,872) and touchdowns (47). He won the Maxwell Award, Davey O’Brien Award, and Manning Award that year as well. There was a bit of a dip in production in 2022, as Young threw for 3,328 yards, 32 touchdowns, and just five interceptions. He was the sole reason that Alabama kept staying in games, and dominated in his final game against Kansas State, throwing for five touchdowns and winning the MVP in the Sugar Bowl.
Bryce Young 2023 NFL Draft Scouting Report
There are several reasons Bryce Young is considered the top quarterback in the 2023 NFL Draft. For Young, it starts at the line of scrimmage and before the snap. Young is excellent at adjusting at the line when necessary, setting protection, changing the play, and recognizing coverage. His field general-like qualities should draw the favor of several coaches and offensive coordinators.
Once the ball is snapped, things get special with Young. He commands the pocket with ease, working through progressions and throwing with impressive anticipation. Young operates the quick game akin to a point guard, getting the ball out quick, accurately, and on time to maximize his receivers’ chances after the catch.
In terms of arm strength, Young can generate good velocity on the football in the quick passing game. His release is efficient and effortless.
The accuracy is there in spades with Young to every level of the field. He can layer throws with impressive touch and isn’t afraid to challenge tight windows. His bucket throws down the field are impressive, and one of his last throws of his collegiate career, a dime to the back corner of the end zone against Kansas State, is indicative of how consistent Young can be in this area. He can place the ball up and away from defenders to bigger targets, and often his placement throws look like he handed the ball to his targets.
Not only does Young dominate within the pocket, maneuvering at a high level and reading out progressions. When the “second play”, the reaction and subsequent playmaking ability out of structure, begins, Bryce Young becomes a true artist. He’s adept at making the first defender miss with deceptive moves and an understanding of space, and his hesitation moves can freeze defenders to buy a second more of time.
Young finds options when the play is truly spent. He can extend plays for a ridiculous amount of time, akin to the Aaron Rodgers days of old. Young keeps his eyes down field, waiting for the tiniest opportunity to take advantage of the eventual coverage bust. Whether it’s climbing the pocket to avoid the chaos, or operating around it, like life, Young just finds a way to get it done amongst it all.
Not only can Young buy time and extend, but he has heightened creativity in this area. He can work in a shovel pass or an option flip on the move, and makes accurate throws on the move to any level.
It isn’t talked about a ton because of the other highlighted traits, but Young rarely puts the ball into harm’s way in terms of turnovers, and he’s often making sound decisions.
When the lights are brightest, and when the game is on the line, Bryce Young steps up in the best way. He makes the clutch throws with the game on the line, no matter if he’s predetermined the read or if he’s buying a bit of time with pressure in his face. His poise to handle free rushers, the kitchen sink of a blitz, or whatever is thrown at him is indicative of a player who refuses to lose. His game-winning drive against Auburn and the crazy missed sack he forced against Texas are two great examples.
While Bryce Young has sufficient arm strength, he doesn’t have the high-level arm talent that the top passers in the NFL do. He also doesn’t have the strongest arm or the best arm talent in the 2023 NFL Draft either. Anticipatory throws will help him thread the needle when the windows tighten.
Size is obviously the biggest concern with Young, and that could drop him in the rankings of NFL teams. The size numbers aren’t confirmed until the combine, but 5’10” and change and 185-190 pounds are likely the numbers. That is an extreme outlier, one that hasn’t gone this high in the NFL Draft, ever.
That size hinders his vision over the middle of the field. He will miss free runners on crossing routes, and it’s due to his lack of vision over the interior of his line. Teams can account for that with moving pockets, designed rollouts, and more to give him a better view of the field.
With the size issues, Young would be a great fit with the Houston Texans. Their recent hiring of Bobby Slowik away from the San Francisco 49ers could indicate the destination when all is said and done. Slowik can move pockets and give Young the ability to see the full field, but can also can advantage of the quick game. His decision making, accuracy, field vision, and anticipation would be good in a Josh McDaniels offense in Vegas and a Frank Reich offense in Carolina.
A phenomenal distributor with great accuracy, anticipation, and heightened creativity, Bryce Young is the perfect blend of pocket dominance and pure artistry as a creator out of structure.