Name: Bryce Young
Weight: 196 lbs
Games watched: vs. Arkansas (2022), vs. LSU (2022), vs. Texas (2022), vs. Texas A&M (2021), vs. Auburn (2022); vs. Cincinnati (2021)
We are on the verge of months of discussion about Bryce Young. The Alabama quarterback has been the talk of college football since he took over as the starter in Tuscaloosa. He missed just one game due to a throwing shoulder injury in two years, showcasing his durability and he dominated when he was on the field. He won the Heisman in his first season as the starter, leading the Tide to an SEC Title and the National Championship Game. While he came up short, he turned heads across the country with his incredible play.
His 2022 season was not nearly as prolific, but neither was his supporting cast. The departure of Brian Robinson Jr., John Metchie III, Jameson Williams and Evan Neal left some major holes for the Tide to fill. Young did his best to carry the offense, but his 3,382 passing yards, 32 passing touchdowns and 64.5 percent completion percentage were all down from a year ago. However, it would have been difficult for anyone to match the 4,872 passing yards, 47 touchdowns and 66.9 percent completion percentage he posted in 2021. In short, Young has been both productive and prolific, and it has scouts talking about him being the No. 1 pick in this draft class.
Young is a gamer. He seems relatively unfazed by the moment no matter what stage he is on. He displays incredibly toughness to absorb hits and keep on balling. His accuracy is impressive, especially down the field. I wish we could have seen him stretch the field vertically more actually, because he really excels in that department. His release is quick and clean. His throwing mechanics and footwork are well coached and consistent. Young’s arm is not the strongest in this class, but he has some impressive zip on intermediate throws into tight spaces. He has more than enough strength to reach just about any spot on the field, including deep outs from the opposite hash and deep overs down the field. As if that wasn’t enough, Young is a dynamic athlete. He won’t outrun everyone on the field, but he is quick and slippery, finding ways to make defenders look foolish in open space on many occasions. With that ability to escape the pocket, he shows a great tendency to keep his eyes downfield while scrambling.
The biggest knock on Young will be his size. He is a bit short as far as prototypical quarterbacks go, but beyond that, he has a very slight frame. He was up to 196 pounds this season. According to Mockdraftable.com, there have been 424 quarterbacks to weigh in during the pre-draft process dating back to 1999. The average weight of those players was 221 pounds. Bryce Young would be tied for the 3rd-lightest player at 196 pounds, falling into the 1st percentile. That is going to be a major red flag for a lot of teams. Let’s look beyond the size concerns. Young really drives on the ball when he releases it. As a result, he sometimes gets the nose of the ball trending downward, throwing balls at his receivers feet or leaving them short of the mark. His pocket awareness is great, but his internal clock still needs some work. There is room to improve at identifying the blitz and sliding protection to account for additional rushers. There are too many times where Young refuses to give up on a play, which sometimes gets him into trouble. He tries to be Superman rather than throwing the ball away and playing for the next down. His ball placement is inconsistent at times, especially on timing routes. He is also guilty of throwing the ball high over the middle when he has pressure in his face. Most of these are coachable tendencies, but will take a bit of time to eliminate from his game.
Young is a proven winner with a great track record of making big plays in big moments. His combination of arm strength, athleticism and accuracy makes him one of the most pro-ready prospects in this class. He put together one of the best seasons in recent memory when he had a better supporting cast around him in 2021 and still looked strong in 2022. Obviously, his size will be picked apart. If he was 6’3″, 225 pounds with the same skill set, we would be talking about him similar to how we discussed Trevor Lawrence and Joe Burrow when they were coming out of school. There are going to be limitations to what he can do given his stature, but he has more than enough skill and talent to be a difference maker at quarterback at the next level. His toughness and willingness to take on contact show a fearlessness that is rare.
Ideal scheme fit: Play action or RPO-heavy vertical passing offense
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