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Alabama star quarterback Bryce Young is one of the premiere overall prospects in the 2023 NFL Draft. As of right now, he is the odds-on favorite to be selected first overall at most outlets. But despite his elite resume, projecting Bryce Young’s play to the NFL is a tough task because of his size, play-style, and lack of a top-tier arm.

The former Heisman winner Bryce Young, who, at 5’11”, 194 pounds, is set to enter the draft as one of the smallest and lighter quarterback prospects ever, making him an outlier at the position. But despite some of these physical concerns, he is still, in my opinion, an elite prospect.


Sep 3, 2022; Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Bryce Young (9) celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the Utah State Aggies at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Alabama won 55-0. Mandatory Credit: Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports

Sep 3, 2022; Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Bryce Young (9) celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the Utah State Aggies at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Alabama won 55-0. Mandatory Credit: Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports

Last spring, when the NFL was preparing to see one of the weakest quarterback draft classes in recent memory, all the eyes and the focus quickly moved to 2023 prospects Bryce Young and C.J. Stroud, with the expectation that the two young quarterbacks would have been a Trevor Lawrence - Justin Fields caliber duo. In reality, this 2022 season has exposed significant concerns for both prospects. 

When it comes to draft prospects, I would usually stay away from betting on outliers early in the draft if I was a general manager. Betting on a guy to be an exception to the rule as an NFL decision-maker is a very dangerous game — one that if you bet wrong, you are most likely going to lose your job.

At the same time, even if it should happen rarely, the gut feeling that every scout or talent evaluator needs to have, can quickly take over, and tell you something that makes you believe they are that outlier. And to me, Bryce Young is that outlier that I will bet on.

Despite his size, he has proven that he can perform whether he's surrounded by high-caliber weapons like Jameson Williams, John Metchie III, and Brian Robinson Jr. in 2021, but, even more importantly, or when surrounded by a below-average group (at least by Alabama standards), exactly like he did in 2022. The third year sophomore has also shown that he elevates his game in the highest pressure situations, operating with a cold-blooded efficiency that is truly rare. He’s done it consistently enough to make me believe that those are traits that will translate to the next level.

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The former Heisman winner can throw in rhythm, place the ball accurately at all three levels of the field, and, despite his lack of elite arm strength, he can also stretch the field vertically while displaying an acceptable combination of velocity and ball placement downfield. What also separates Young from the other quarterback prospects of this draft class, and in particular C.J. Stroud, is the fact that he’s productive when throwing out of structure and can legitimately gain solid chunks of yards with his legs. 

Young has everything needed in order to become a well above-average quarterback at the NFL level. He can make things happen in a variety of ways, and while he shows the ability to gain chunks of yardage with his legs, more often than not, he scrambles looking to throw, and only runs as the last option. I've seen a lot of other people say his direct comp is Tua Tagovailoa, but in my opinion, Young is without a doubt a better prospect.


Oct 15, 2022; Knoxville, Tennessee, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Bryce Young (9) has trouble with the snap during the first quarter against the Tennessee Volunteers at Neyland Stadium.

Oct 15, 2022; Knoxville, Tennessee, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Bryce Young (9) has trouble with the snap during the first quarter against the Tennessee Volunteers at Neyland Stadium.

With his strengths being highlighted, it’s time to address the elephant in the room: his size: Young is not only shorter than your average NFL quarterback, but he’s also significantly skinnier and lighter than other players at the position who had similar measurables such as Kyler Murray, Russell Wilson or Drew Brees. All of those quarterbacks were shorter, but had enough mass on their lower half to help from a durability standpoint, something the Alabama product simply doesn't have. 

Also, while focusing on those three quarterbacks, who are also some of Young’s most common comparisons, both Wilson and Murray had way more arm talent and arm strength than Young, who’s reliable but not such amuch of a big threat in the deep passing game as those two. In comparison to Brees, Young definitely isn’t as good of a processor as the future Hall of Famer. 

At the same time, from a quarterback of Young’s size, you usually would expect him to be a big-time threat in the run game, someone with the potential to be a player able to rack up 700 or plus rushing yards in a season, but that’s not the case for Young, who’s a good scrambler but not an elite athlete able to produce much on designed runs.


Those limitations, both with his overall arm talent and lack of elite potential as a runner, don’t make him a true "can’t-miss prospect" in my opinion. While there isn’t a spot-on player comparison when talking about Young, as he can be a “unicorn” in his own way, I think Young is solid and complete enough to become an above-average NFL signal-caller, but at the same time, I think he doesn’t possess the tools to become a Justin Herbert or Josh Allen caliber player. 

While Young is someone I would bet on despite being an outlier, I think it’s also important to set fair expectations based on the limitations of his profile.