ESPN analyst compares 2023 prospect Bryce Young to Patrick Mahomes

Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Bryce Young is the top prospect in the 2023 NFL Draft class and with the Chicago Bears projected to trade the pick, Young is also going No. 1 overall in the latest NFL mock draft. However, there is still plenty of debate regarding his future.

While very few scouts or analysts knock Young’s talent, his size is a problem. Before the NFL Combine, the expectation is the 2021 Heisman Trophy winner will be measured at a height of 5-foot-11 or shorter.

Young’s height isn’t the only problem. Unlike other small NFL quarterbacks who became stars – Kyler Murray, Russell Wilson and Drew Brees – Young has a small frame. Even in a league where quarterbacks are protected by NFL rules, there are real concerns about the 21-year-old’s longevity with such a thin frame.

It’s the only real concern that puts his draft stock in jeopardy. Young’s physical tools, mind, leadership, accuracy and intangibles are all worthy of the No. 1 overall pick. Yet, for as much praise as he is receiving during the pre-draft process, one analyst might’ve gone a little far with his comparison.

Talking about the 2023 draft prospects on ESPN’s First Draft, draft analyst Todd McShay shared that his NFL comparison for Young is a shorter Patrick Mahomes.

Related: Bryce Young losing momentum for No. 1 pick

“Bryce Young has a chance to be an absolute star. I’ve said it multiple times but he is Patrick Mahomes in a smaller body. The ability to move the pocket? Just the pocket presence that he has? The magic that he can create inside of the pocket and outside of the pocket? (It’s) different than all the other quarterbacks in this class and most quarterbacks that we evaluate.”

Todd McShay on his Bryce Young comparison to Patrick Mahomes

Mahomes has already proven to be one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history. After developing for a year, the Kansas City Chiefs quarterback has won two NFL MVPs and two Super Bowls over the next five seasons. In addition, he has led the Chiefs to five consecutive AFC Championship Games since becoming the starter.

Related: Best landing spots for Bryce Young

Mahomes, 6-foot-3, is on a trajectory, to be the second-best quarterback in NFL history. Many also believe he is the most physically-gifted passer ever, doing things on the field that have never been seen before.

It’s worth keeping in mind McShay’s history with quarterback analysis. During the 2021 draft cycle, he stated that Zach Wilson was ‘significantly better than Justin Fields.

  • Bryce Young stats (2022): 86.2 ESPN QBR, 32-5 TD-INT, 3,328 passing yards

“I think Wilson is a better player. The reason I say that is that I think he has better instincts, I think he processes quicker, and I think he extends plays just as well if not better than Justin Fields. Now, Fields is big and strong and he can make all the throws, and when he can see his receiver open and he has turned to him, he’s very accurate. But the anticipation throws and making things happen outside the pocket, I think Zach Wilson excels in those areas.”

ESPN’s Todd McShay on Zach Wilson vs Justin Fields

ESPN’s draft analyst also compared Mac Jones to Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow, spotlighting his pocket presence, football IQ, accuracy and physical skills.

It highlights some of the problems with making comparisons, especially to future Hall of Famers or MVP-caliber players. Even stylistically, it’s hard to argue that Young’s arm strength belongs in the same tier as Mahomes.

Ultimately, height matters and that is a factor that will almost certainly play a role in Young not reaching the level that Mahomes is at. He can still have a bright future as a franchise quarterback, but there are reasons some NFL teams believe Will Levis, C.J. Stroud and Anthony Richardson might have bright futures at the next level.

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