Alabama quarterback Bryce Young was taken by the Carolina Panthers with the No. 1 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. The 2021 Heisman Trophy winner becomes the franchise QB for the Panthers and will be under the tutelage of first-year head Frank Reich. Young will have a few offensive weapons to work with on Day 1, most prominently free agent running back signing Miles Sanders.
After one season as the backup, Bryce Young burst onto the scene as Alabama’s starting quarterback in 2021. He threw for 4,872 yards that year, a record for the Tide, and an impressive 47 touchdowns. A first-team All-American and the SEC Offensive Player of the Year, Young also won the Heisman Trophy and the Maxwell Award for his first season as a starter. While his numbers didn’t quite match those last year, he still managed to throw for 3,328 yards, 32 touchdowns and five interceptions, adding another four scores on the ground.
Young now finds himself as one of the top quarterbacks in the 2023 NFL Draft, arguably the best player at his position among this year’s incoming class. Whatever team ends up selecting him, Young will likely find himself that team’s starting signal caller when the season begins.
Bryce Young: Scouting Report
“I love his poise. I think he plays so under control. It’s so slow to him,” said ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay. “To me, he’s a smaller Patrick Mahomes.”
That quote nicely sums up what the experts think about Young. A natural passer with an incredible sense of the field around him, he’s got a knack for putting the ball exactly where it needs to be. He’s not easy for defenders to get to, either, with the ability to extend plays or create new ones when he’s under pressure. And though he doesn’t have a true cannon arm, he makes smart, accurate throws all over the field.
Where he really impresses talent evaluators is with his poise and leadership. Young seems almost unshakable, able to cooly and calmly lead his team out of any situation. It’s something few rookie quarterbacks have right so early on in their careers.
The biggest knock on Young is his size. Consistently cited by experts and anonymous team sources as a serious concern, he measured 5’ 10” and weighed 204 pounds at the Combine. He would be one of the smallest quarterbacks taken in the first round, and there’s some concern that his size could pose potential durability issues down the road. However, we’ve seen smaller quarterbacks excel in the NFL lately with players like Russell Wilson and Kyler Murray. It’s worth noting that Young’s hands measured 9 3/4” which puts him squarely in the norm for incoming players at his position.
Mock Draft landing spots
What a ride it’s been for Young when it comes to mock drafts. After Ohio State’s CJ Stroud spent most of the offseason as the favorite to go No. 1 in the Draft, Young popped onto the scene after a strong combine and pro day showing. He’s projected to go No. 1 overall to the Carolina Panthers in ESPN’s, NBC Sports and The Athletic’s mock drafts, while CBS Sports has the Texans picking Young with the No. 2 pick in the draft.
Fantasy football implications
Wherever Young goes, he should get a chance to start right off the bat. Whether that happens remains to be seen, as both the Panthers (Andy Dalton) and Texans (Case Keenum and Davis Mills) have veteran quarterbacks they could turn to early in the year.
While Young is a mid-round must-add to your fantasy roster, he should be viewed as a depth piece at the start of the season. While we’ve seen some rookie quarterbacks come into the league and play well from their first snap (like Brock Purdy last year), it can sometimes take rookies a bit of time to acclimate to the speed of the NFL, especially a smaller quarterback like Young. Once he does get acclimated, however, Young should end up being a solid fantasy quarterback, as his decision-making and accuracy should help him cut down on giveaways.