NFL Draft Prospect Profiles: Bryce Young

by Jonathan Lange · Draft Strategy

Prospect Profiles: Bryce Young

Welcome back to the Prospect Profiles! We’re diving in the QB position this draft season as we continue to look at the prospects in the 2023 NFL Draft. Our previous piece covered C.J. Stroud, and today’s article is on the latest Alabama quarterback who is about to join the NFL: Bryce Young.

Young has won multiple awards in college, including the Maxwell, Davey O’Brien, and Heisman Trophy. Can he prove himself to be a productive quarterback in the NFL despite his diminutive frame? Let’s see what we can learn about the talented thrower from Tuscaloosa!

High School Career

Bryce Young was a complete rock star in high school, winning both the Gatorade Player of the Year and USA Today High School Offensive Player of the Year after accumulating 4,500 passing yards and 58 touchdowns. He was rated the No. 1 quarterback in his recruiting class. In fact, per recruiting database, Bryce Young ranked No. 6 among all high school quarterbacks in their database, behind current NFL quarterbacks Justin Fields and Trevor Lawrence. He made waves in the football world before he even threw his first pass in an NCAA game.

College Career

Young sat behind Mac Jones during his sophomore year and was granted starter status his junior year for the Crimson Tide. He would take the job and never look back, breaking school records such as the most passing yards in a game (559 yards) and most passing yards in an SEC championship game (421 yards).

He would go on to win the Heisman Trophy in his first full year of playing college football. His following season saw a slight drop off in most passing statistics, and the talent surrounding him wasn’t as impressive as it was the previous season. However, he still was able to finish with a 163 quarterback rating locking him inside the top ten in the entire NCAA.

What Scouts Love

Great success under pressure

The bright lights of college football shine brightest in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and Bryce Young made a name for himself in big game after big game. In fact, he was sacked only 18 times in 13 games last season. Young routinely showed confidence in the face of pressure.

Played in Pro-Style Offense

Young not only benefited from having Nick Saban as his head coach, but he also played under former NFL head coach Bill O’Brien. O’Brien served as his offensive coordinator in both years Young started for Alabama.

Learning from an NFL mind will only improve his chances of success at the next level. Even though his overall statistical numbers took a small step back in 2022, it wasn’t a massive statistical drop-off similar to Will Levis, who many consider a top quarterback in this class with Young.

What Scouts Don’t Like


We all knew this was coming. Young strolled into the NFL Combine only for measurables where he clocked in at 5-10 and 204-pounds. Per PlayerProfiler’s Data Analysis tool, there are five quarterbacks with NFL experience that weigh 204 pounds or less and are 6-0 and under: Russell Wilson, Trace McSorley, David Blough, D’eriq King, and Doug Flutie. All five of these quarterbacks ran a faster 40-time and have more of a rushing upside than Young. It’s still possible for Young to blaze a career path comparable to Drew Brees or Russell Wilson, but the odds are not great based on similar quarterback profiles.

Injury concerns

Another layer to the “size” complaint is the fear of injuries in the NFL. I mentioned above how he was only sacked 18 times during the 2022 season. However, he was also injured due to a sprained A/C joint in his shoulder. If he sustained an injury in a season where he only took 18 sacks, then the NFL game could be overwhelming for his size. The quarterback who took the least number of sacks in 2022 was Patrick Mahomes with 26 sacks.

Young can evade defenders, but he’s going to be under more pressure than ever before in his career. Young thrives by extending plays in the pocket and evading defenders before making an awe-inspiring throw or quick scramble, but he will find that much more difficult to do at the next level. I’m not concerned about him making a throw or not—the talent and confidence are there. I’m much more concerned about his health at the next level because he will not be on a superior team in his first year in the league.

My Comparable Player

Bryce Young was a great quarterback at every level looking back. He thrived in high school. Young won the Heisman Trophy. He’s an outstanding quarterback, and he is worthy of a top-10 pick at the NFL Draft. But his size greatly concerns me for his outlook in the NFL. Whoever drafts him will hopefully understand his size and create designed passing lanes so that Young won’t be throwing balls at his offensive guard’s helmet.

My best comparable player for Bryce Young is Baker Mayfield. I first heard this comparison when listening to the Decision Point podcast with Matt Kelley and Anand Nanduri, and I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Young is daring on the field just as Mayfield was in college, and Young will be willing to make any throw in the NFL similar to Mayfield. Good or bad, he’s going to sling it. There is a real chance that Young outperforms Mayfield, but I’m genuinely concerned for Young’s health at the next level. Here’s to hoping he can go to a place such as Houston or Carolina with an established offensive line, so the number of hits he takes is limited. His skill set does not fit well with a rebuilding offensive line, and we saw glimpses of that in his last season with the Crimson Tide.