Bryce Young’s game rises above his frame, making him worthy of No. 1 pick

Rate this post

If Bryce Young becomes the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, his rise to the top of the charts will serve as a fascinating case study in valuing performance and production over value. athleticism and potential at the quarterback position.

The 2021 Heisman Trophy winner doesn’t have the prototypical dimensions that evaluators coveted — he measured in at just over 5-foot-10 and 204 pounds at the NFL Combine. But make no mistake: Young is a certified ballplayer, with the IQ, instincts and diagnostic skills that coaches love in their QB1s. A football savant with above-average arm talent and polished pocket passing skills, Young plays the position like he’s tearing his buddies apart in a Madden tournament.

From tearing apart the defense with pinpoint throws on a variety of fast-paced passes to dropping dimes on impromptu turns rolling to both sides, Young is a dart thrower with a knack for squeezing the ball into tight windows down the field. His unique combination of timing, anticipation and touch allows him to “open guys up” in traffic, which is critical to success at the next level.

Given how quickly Young processes information and adapts to how opponents defend him, I’m not surprised to hear of his impressive performance on the S2 test, a cognitive test meant to measure the processing speed of quarterbacks. He plays like he knows what he’s doing, and that confidence translates into an aggressive approach that produces big plays with minimal mistakes and turnovers.

Reviewing Young’s production as a two-year starter at Alabama, it’s no surprise that he finished his career with over 8,300 passing yards and an 80-12 touchdown-to-interception ratio. Sure, he was surrounded by one of the best supporting casts in college football, but it’s hard to grind out opponents at that level without a high football IQ or a clear understanding of how to attack defenses.

Production is a byproduct of his processing ability, and scouts should pay close attention to that correlation when comparing Young to other quarterback prospects in the 2023 class. For example, Kentucky’s Will Levis and Florida’s Anthony Richardson have the prototypical physical dimensions and the arm talent to shine as a QB1, but didn’t post great numbers in the SEC.

While their respective supporting casts weren’t as talented as Young’s teammates, their QB superpowers (Levis: arm talent; Richardson: arm talent and athleticism) should have been able to elevate the performance of their teams. With that in mind, Levis deserves credit for 17 wins in 24 career starts. The former high school two-sport standout (football and baseball) showed the ability to put the team on his back as a junior, but Levis and the Wildcats struggled last season with a new coordinator and offensive scheme.

Despite posting similar numbers in each of the last two years (2022: 65.4% completion rate, 2,406 passing yards, 19 touchdowns and 10 interceptions; 2021: 66% completion rate, 2,826 passing yards, 24 touchdowns and 13 interceptions), the The 4-foot-4, 229-pound gunslinger couldn’t get the team going as he struggled with turnovers and sacks. Levis’ performance last season raises concerns about his ability to play winning football with a smaller lineup.

Richardson also disappointed on the field despite his superhero talent. The 6-foot-4, 244-pound QB completed just 53.8 percent of his passes for 2,549 yards with 17 touchdowns and nine interceptions. He added 654 rushing yards and nine scores on 103 attempts to round out his 2022 resume.

Will Bryce Young end up as the best QB in the 2023 draft class?

Will Bryce Young end up as the best QB in the 2023 draft class?

Albert Breer joins Colin Cowherd to share his thoughts on Bryce Young ahead of the NFL Draft and why the QB has Steph Curry qualities.

While those numbers are solid for a starting dual-threat quarterback at a Power 5 school, expect more from a potential top-five pick. The top five is reserved for players who are expected to dominate the league early in their careers while ranking among the top five players at their position.

That brings me back to Young and why he’s worthy of the No. 1 overall pick after an impressive two-year run at Alabama with a diverse supporting cast. Despite NFL-caliber playmakers coming and going, Young’s performance and production didn’t change. His completion rate (66.9% to 64.5%), yards per attempt (8.9 to 8.8) and touchdown to interception ratio (47-7 to 32-5) didn’t drop significantly from his Heisman Trophy-winning campaign to his final season at Alabama.

Most impressively, Young kept the Crimson Tide in title contention with a fresh cast of players in 2022 after losing star wide receivers Jameson Williams and John Metchie to the NFL. While some suggest Alabama is always loaded with NFL talent and top players, Young’s ability to keep the offense humming while introducing a new set of expansions speaks volumes for his leadership skills, adaptability and general talent.

At a time when teams are looking for QBs with the ability to elevate a franchise’s game, Young’s performance and production throughout his career suggest he is the crown jewel of the 2023 class.

Bucky Brooks is an NFL analyst for FOX Sports. He appears regularly on “Speak For Yourself” and also breaks down the game for NFL Network and co-hosts the “Moving the Sticks” podcast. Follow him on Twitter @BuckyBrooks.

FOX Sports Top Stories:

FOLLOW Follow your favorites to personalize your FOX Sports experience

National Football League

Alabama Crimson Tide

Bryce Young

Get more from the National Football League Follow your favorites for information on games, news and more

Source link

Leave a Comment