Proven Winner – Is It Enough? Analyzing Bryce Young

Bryce Young attended Mater Dei High School and was ranked a 5-star recruit by ESPN and 247Sports. After earning Offensive MVP honors at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl and being named the All-American Bowl Player of the Year, Young committed to play for the Alabama Crimson Tide.

Young saw limited action in 2020 as a freshman backup to Mac Jones, finishing the season with 156 yards on 22 attempts for one touchdown and a total QBR of 96.

Young’s sophomore year was one for the ages, as he played 14 games for the Crimson Tide, finishing with 4,491 yards on 492 attempts (67.1% completion) and 45 touchdowns, and a total QBR of 122.3. Young also finished with 273 rushing yards on 45 attempts.

After the 2021 season, Young received a multitude of accolades including the Heisman trophy, college football’s Player of the Year by the Associated Press, the Maxwell Award, as well as the Davey O’Brien and Manning awards. He was also a consensus first-team All-American by the AP, FWAA, and TSN.

In his Junior year, Young saw further improvement and accolades, where he finished with 3,325 yards (64.5% completion), 32 touchdowns and five interceptions, with a total QBR of 114.9. Young also rushed for 306 yards in 33 attempts and four touchdowns.

2022 marked the first time a quarterback in Alabama history finished two consecutive seasons with 3,000-plus yards, as Young also finished second in program history for career passing yards (8,356) and passing touchdowns (80). He was also the Crimson Tide’s all-time leader in five-touchdown games (5), was selected as a second-team All American, earned second-team All-SEC, finished second in the SEC and tied 10th nationally in passing touchdowns (32), and finished sixth in the 2022 Heisman Trophy voting.

But is it enough to be successful in the NFL?

Bryce Young’s greatest strength as a quarterback is his passing. He has excellent instincts and is superb at understanding where his options and reads are at all times. Young is deathly accurate and excels at lacing passes into tight windows to beat coverage. With good timing and precision, Young is also great at leading his receivers to rack up RAC. Many QBs lack Young’s confidence to throw into tight coverage, much less his skill at doing it successfully. Even when his passes fall incomplete, his touch on the ball is nearly perfect.

Young is an accurate passer in the short to intermediate parts of the field, however, he still has good ball placement when he throws deep. Even if he doesn’t have the cannon of Josh Allen, he is still more than capable of making any required throw. Although Young is short, he does not struggle with his field vision and knowing where his targets are at all times.

While Young is a pass-first quarterback, he does not shy away from the run. He is a good athlete who offers above-average mobility and escapability. He excels at climbing the pocket, keeping his eyes downfield while pressured, and throws well on the run. When plays collapse, Young can move the chains, however he looks to throw on the run first. With his mobility and intelligence as a runner, Young is capable of running off-script to create opportunities.

Another strength of Young’s is his on-ball intelligence. He has clearly studied enough to fully grasp and understand plays, and he is fully aware of where his receivers are and will be on the field. Young does not lack confidence in the slightest.

Young is almost picture-perfect. Almost.

Perhaps the biggest knock to Young’s draft stock is his size. He is listed at 6 foot, 194 pounds, and really does not match the stature you’d expect in an NFL quarterback; however this has not translated to poor performance throughout his collegiate career.

Conversely, Young could also be more patient at times. There are times when Young sticks to his first read too long, or tries too hard for big plays, when it would be smarter to throw the ball away or go for the checkdown.

Young’s mechanics also become a bit questionable when rolling out. He sometimes abandons the pocket prematurely, eroding opportunities. Mechanically, Young also needs to improve both during and at the conclusion of his dropbacks, where he sometimes releases too early and throws off his back foot, leading to inaccurate and under-thrown passes.

Lastly, Young appears to be nonchalant on the drop and can be late to reset his eyes as a result. Often he gets caught flat-footed, which can delay throws. Young could be more deliberate and precise with his in-pocket footwork, as his staggered feet can lead to inconsistencies in his throwing platforms.

While Young’s size is perhaps the most glaring negative aspect of his draft stock, he does also have a susceptibility to injury. Behind an elite line at Alabama, he’s been able to stay on the field, but if he is drafted by a team with a weak supporting line, it could quickly become a problem. As it is, any team that selects him should be prepared to stock up the offensive line in order for him to remain successful and healthy.

Comparing Bryce Young to NFL quarterbacks is a difficult task, as his size and ability is a bit of an anomaly. The closest comparison I could make for Young is a less-athletic Kyler Murray, where size is relatively similar.

Despite his size, Young is still an elite draft prospect, and behind the right supporting cast and staff, could become an elite-level quarterback at the next level. I project Young to be anywhere from the 1st to 3rd quarterback taken, depending on finalized draft order and potential trades.

NFL Comparisons: Less athletic Kyler Murray, Tua Tagovailoa, Doug Flutie