Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Bryce Young is the projected first pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, offering teams an opportunity to land a face of the franchise who can lead an offense for the next decade.
Football fans know Young well from his storied college football career to the negatives on his scouting report regarding his size. While height and frame are two big issues, there’s no denying that Young’s overall skill set compares favorably to some of the best NFL quarterbacks today.
Related: 2023 NFL Draft order, picks by team
How good will Young be in the NFL? While there are no guarantees, our NFL Draft profile on the Alabama quarterback will examine his resume, scouting report, and measurables and project his future.
Bryce Young measurements
- Bryce Young height: 5-foot-10
- Bryce Young weight: 204 pounds
- Bryce Young hand size: 9.75 inches
Let’s dive into Sportsnaut’s Bryce Young draft profile.
Bryce Young stats and background
A five-star recruit in 2020, Young arrived at Alabama with plenty of hype as the highest-rated quarterback recruit in the country. 247 Sports rated him as the 20th highest-graded prospect in its history. Just a year after arriving on campus, stepping into the shoes of Mac Jones, Young met and then exceeded the hype.
|Bryce Young stats||QB Rating||TD – INT||TD % – INT %||Completion %||PFF Grade|
|2021||167.5||47 – 7||8.6% – 1.3%||66.9%||92.0|
|2022||163.2||32 – 5||8.4% – 1.3%||64.5%||91.5|
In his Heisman Trophy season, Young did everything well. He decimated opponents when throwing deep (20-plus yards downfield), posting an outstanding 95.8 PPF grade with a 14-4 TD-INT rate and a 102.8 QB rating. On play-action throws, Young completed 65.3% of his pass attempts with a 14-1 QB-INT rate and a 117.3 QB rating.
- Bryce Young stats vs pressure (2021): 17-3 TD-INT, 100.8 QB rating, 7.9 ypa
- Bryce Young vs clean pocket (’21): 30-4 TD-INT, 134.7 QB rating, 9.3 ypa
Alabama’s receiving corps suffered massive losses before the 2022 season. John Metchie III and Jameson Williams went off to the NFL, depleting the Crimson Tide of two bonafide playmakers.
Related: NFL GM believes Bryce Young will be better than star QB
Young still played at a Heisman-caliber level, even while dealing with a shoulder injury. When blitzed this past season, Young completed 68% of his passes with a 14-3 TD-INT ratio and a 109.6 QB rating. Alabama took fewer deep shots with its depleted receiving corps, but Young still posted a 6-1 TD-INT split with a 121.5 QB rating on deep passes.
- Bryce Young vs pressure (2022): 9-3 TD-INT, 95.2 QB rating, 9.3 ypa
- Bryce Young vs clean pocket (’22): 23-2 TD-INT, 122.9 QB rating, 8.5 ypa
Pedigree and production matter to NFL teams during the evaluation process. Needless to say, the best quarterback in the SEC over the last two seasons proved himself with a resume that no other player in college football could match.
Statistics courtesy of College Football Reference, ESPN and Pro Football Focus
Scouting Alabama Crimson Tide QB Bryce Young
Diving into our Bryce Young scouting report, we start with the positives. If he stood at 6-foot-2 and 215 pounds, Young would be viewed as an unquestioned elite talent and the Chicago Bears likely trade Justin Fields. It speaks volumes about so many of the things Young does well.
It all starts with his accuracy and football IQ. Playing in a pro-style offense, everything largely ran through Young with pre-snap decisions and reads all resting on his shoulders. In an era when so many college programs scheme receivers open and create easy throws, Young effectively served as the Chris Paul of Alabama’s passing attack. Once the ball is snapped, you see his pinpoint accuracy across all areas of the field.
Young also stands out for his ability to maintain his composure with defenders around him and he achieves it in a variety of ways. The California native does an outstanding job reading the defense before the snap, knowing where the pressure is coming from and planning for it. When there’s chaos around him, if he can hang in the pocket, Young keeps a level head and makes sharp throws even without his feet set or when a hand is obstructing his field vision.
If the pocket collapses, he boasts elite pocket mobility and moves around defenders while still keeping his eyes downfield. Young also does a great job instructing receivers in moments like this, finding holes left open in the secondary and guiding the pass-catcher to them with his eye movement and ball placement.
While Young isn’t in the 90th percentile for quarterback athleticism, his ability to extend plays means his play-caller can open up the offense even more. He displayed excellent touch when throwing on the move, was one of the deadliest quarterbacks in college football on play-action and he can scramble for first downs similar to the ability seen from players like Patrick Mahomes, Geno Smith, Justin Herbert and Trevor Lawrence.
Size is a legitimate concern with young as Ben Solak of The Ringer covered in great detail. While many will point to Drew Brees and Russell Wilson, those are the exceptions to the rule. Fans can recall every small quarterback that achieved storied success in the NFL, while every other example slips from their memory because quarterbacks like Johnny Manziel are forgotten.
Young won’t be able to evade NFL pass rushers nearly as effectively as Kyler Murray, the difference in athleticism between the two quarterbacks would be like comparing Tyreek Hill to Michael Pittman Jr. Young also doesn’t have Wilson’s muscle mass and frame, while Brees is an outlier who greatly benefitted from playing indoors in one of the weakest divisions in the NFL for years.
One other difference and another knock on Young, he doesn’t have the elite arm strength. It will limit some of the zip on his deepest throws and it limits the margin for error of a thinly-framed quarterback. The knocks on Young are legitimate and could impact his NFL career.
- Bryce Young draft grade: 88/100
- Bryce Young draft projection: Top 2 pick
Projecting Bryce Young’s NFL career
So much of a young quarterback’s success is dependent on what NFL team drafts them. Aaron Rodgers far exceeded anything Alex Smith achieved in his NFL career in part because Rodgers had the benefit of developing behind the scenes and learning from a Hall of Famer. A more recent example is Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts, who is in a perfect system tailored to his strengths with an elite offensive line and great weapons around him.
However, there are a lot of reasons why Young can help elevate the players around him. He was one of the most accurate quarterbacks in college football over the last decade. Young also spent years learning from Bill O’Brien, an experience that will shorten his learning curve in the NFL.
The above-average athleticism will help Young extend plays, even if he isn’t playing behind a top-flight offensive line. While he is at his best with playmakers who can make plays after the catch, the 2022 season demonstrated that he is a ceiling raiser for an offense and he can handle the pressure of being a rookie, leading an NFL franchise, playing in critical situations and making smart decisions when under duress.
Young is the favorite to win NFL Rookie of the Year in 2023. Even with a sub-par supporting cast around him, he’s more advanced than his peers in the draft class. Paired with the high-end ball placement and ability to improvise, you have a quarterback with all the tools to excel.
If anything, there is just a long-term concern. Kyler Murray has already sustained multiple injuries in his NFL career and he is a generational athlete at the quarterback position. Even in the modern NFL where signal-callers are protected better than ever, Young is going to take hundreds of hits over the course of his five-year rookie contract. At his size, he’s not a safe bet to play 12-plus seasons without missing time with injuries.
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Even with those risks, Young is too talented to pass up with a No. 1 pick. While he might not offer the highest upside in the quarterback class, he is a bonafide starting quarterback in the NFL and can be the face of a multi-billion dollar franchise.