Rookie Spotlight: Bryce Young
By: Cody Folden
There is an argument between Bryce Young and CJ Stroud, as the number 1 quarterback in this class. There is no argument for me. Bryce Young is the best quarterback prospect in this draft. Many people say his height and weight are a concern when Stroud comes into the combine only 10 pounds heavier. I know…play weight and combine weight are different entities but I think everyone just has buyer's remorse from the injury-prone Tua Tagovailoa. Bryce Young avoided a major injury at Alabama. People had no problem drafting Tua with his significant injury history out of college so why are we blaming Young for that?
Young’s stats are nothing but impressive. His 2021 stats are 366 of 547 completions (66.9%), 4872 yards, 47 touchdowns, and 7 interceptions. Let's remember his receivers in 2021 were Jameson Williams and John Metchie. His 2022 stats are 245 of 380 (64.5%) 3328 yards, 32 touchdowns, and 5 interceptions. His receivers this year were Jermaine Burton and Ja’Corey Brooks. This isn’t a slight on Burton and Brooks but they are not Williams and Metchie. Young had to showcase his skills a lot more this year and it solidifies why he will be a good starter in the years to come.
Bryce Young commanded his offense. He knows where everyone is supposed to be and expects his teammates to be where they are supposed to. If they aren’t he makes it known and corrects it with his leadership. He uses his voice and talks to the players but doesn’t demean them or be demonstrative. He deals with it in the huddle and makes sure he puts his teammates in positions to win. You see it this year especially.
The Texas game was a hard-fought battle that I don’t think Alabama was prepared for. Bryce Young in the second half willed his team to a victory when it almost seemed impossible. He was frustrated but never lost sight of the goal. You can be emotional without playing emotionally and that is a key difference between good and great. Bryce Young is great.
With his arm that can make any throw, you need to have the wherewithal to use it correctly. Bryce Young, as stated before, commands his offense. He knows where he can put the ball anywhere but sometimes the defense just wins. Young is a sneaky athlete that defenses found out during the year while playing man-to-man coverage. They doubled some of the wide receivers and made sure Gibbs was taken away and the defense believed they won. They learn quickly that Bryce Young can use his feet.
Although, a thrower first. Young can use his legs to make a play and may have the best running capability outside of Richardson of the top 5 quarterbacks. He doesn’t utilize it unless he has to. When the pocket breaks down or is on a designed bootleg he has the best arm on off-balanced throws and it isn’t particularly close. If the defense changes from man to zone, he is a master of dissecting zone coverage.
This may be my favorite thing about Bryce Young which I know he is the best at in this class. His pocket awareness is top-tier. He knows when he needs to stay in the pocket and knows when he needs to move up to set and throw. He is very patient unless things break down from the beginning (see below). He has a good sense of when there is danger around him and can get out of it which makes him a good gamble for NFL teams in my opinion. Young avoids major injury because of this skill and his ability to know when to protect himself.
Middle of the Field Throws
With all his positives. He does have things he can improve on. I put throws between the hashes in there because he seems to sail the ball a little more on these throws than others. This may be because of his height but I think it's just because he wants to put it in a spot where no one else can get it but his receiver and knew in college a lot of safeties weren't going to be able to make a play on the ball. This is where he will get a welcome to the NFL moment. The safeties in the NFL are better and will exploit this. He has all the ability to fix this issue.
Unnecessary Tight Window Throws
Throughout the whole article, I have mentioned how good Bryce Young’s arm is. It is really good, we all know, and he knows that. Sometimes he will make an unnecessary tight window throw when a check-down option or another receiver is starting to get open. He is great with his progressions, but you see in some games (usually not the important ones) that he makes these throws just to make them. He doesn't go with the safe option because he knows he doesn't have to. It sometimes feels like he is trying to prove to himself how good he is when we all know this to be the case.
Reading the Blitz
Young has great pocket awareness and presence when he knows what defense is coming. He can go off script and make any play he needs to, but if the defense disguises their blitzes well. That is where Young can get into trouble. He shows some inconsistency, especially against Texas and Georgia games, that’s when the defense gets to him and he takes a sack. He gets a little rattled and makes some inopportune throws or rushes on the next play.
Player Comparisons: Drew Brees, Daniel Jones
The Drew Brees comparison is a little unfair because comparing a rookie to a Hall of Fame player puts unneeded pressure on a guy. I won't compare him to Drew Brees stats, or because he is a similar build to Brees. I compare him to Brees because of his arm. They have so many similarities when it comes to mechanics and which throws are easy and ones they have to work on. If Young can capitalize on the opportunities like Brees did. Young will have a nice career.
The Daniel Jones comparison is also a little unfair because comparing a rookie who hasn’t played a down to a guy that is one of the most polarizing because of his turnover-prone ability and needed years of development before otherwise being disappointing; will turn some people away. The only comparison I have with Bryce Young and Daniel Jones is their ability to use their legs that show off their sneaky athleticism. Young can break out runs like Jones does if he really needs to. If you combine Brees' arm talent with Jones’ running ability, you have Bryce Young who should be a 10-year-plus starter.
It should come as no surprise that my favorite game for Bryce Young wasn’t one of his best games statistically. The Mississippi State game in the 2022 season is my favorite game of Bryce Young’s. With a stat line: 21 of 35 249 yards and 2 touchdowns, Bryce Young shows in the game why he was the best quarterback by showing he has the “it” factor. He knows State is an inferior opponent so he gets himself into trouble at some points in the game by trying to make the wow play instead of the right one, while also getting pressured a little. Once he settles into the game he shows how much of a surgeon he is.
Bryce Young will be one of the top 2 picks. It is still fun to speculate the what-ifs. Here are 5 teams I see Bryce Young playing and helping the team right away.
Houston Texans: This is the obvious choice for me. They have their tackle in Laremy Tunsil locked into a new extension ( 3 year, 75 million). They signed a very athletic weapon at tight end, Dalton Schultz. Have two running backs that will help him transition well in Dameon Pierce and Devin Singletary, and have young but talented WR Nico Collins along with seasoned vet Robert Woods. They have put pieces in place to set themselves up to take a QB and set him up for success with veterans who have done it already.
Carolina Panthers: Like the Texans, they have brought weapons in to take a rookie quarterback and succeed with them. Adding veteran WRs Adam Thielen and DJ Chark are huge adds. The best blocking tight end with athleticism in Hayden Hurst and a good running back that can change the pace and calm down the quarterback with Miles Sanders. I'm excited to see how it turns out, they seem to be leaning CJ Stroud which could happen as well. Just really comes down to preference. I think Young would fit nicely here.
Indianapolis Colts: If the Colts trade up to get Bryce Young this is the best-case scenario for them to salvage this season. Before Carolina traded up I would’ve done so if I was the Colts. You need someone to pair up with Michael Pittman, Alec Pierce, and Jonathan Taylor. If somehow the Texans pass on him after the Panthers take Stroud. They must move up to 3 for him.
Tennessee Titans: This team has a lot of needs with key free agency departures and an aging Ryan Tannehill. Even if they keep Derrick Henry they will need a QB to spread the ball around so there aren't 8 or more men in the box. If they can get Bryce Young they should move up to get him to use his dynamic playmaking ability and get the ball to Chig Okonkwo, Treylon Burks, and whoever they draft.
Las Vegas Raiders: This is the major what-if. We know Jimmy Garropolo is injury prone and will get the first shot but you can’t deny the talent. If a GM likes someone and thinks it will make their team better they will do it. It would only happen if he slipped past 1.04 in the draft. I don't think they have enough to get to the 3rd pick, but if Young is there, they should think about it.
In fantasy football rookie drafts, especially SuperFlex, I’m taking Bryce Young as the first overall pick. Bijan Robinson is a great pick as well but usually, if I have the 1.01 I will need the most valuable asset I can get in that position. I will be able to set and forget for 10+ years with Bryce Young and be happy with his production.
Cody Folden joined the Dynasty Pros team in 2023. He plays in many dynasty leagues but dabbles in other leagues like devy, contract, and scouting leagues. He loves to dive deep into learning about prospects coming up through college and seeing them thrive when they get to the league.