2023 NFL Draft Rookie Profile: QB Bryce Young (Fantasy Football)
Dynasty season is here! All offseason, the Fantasy Footballers writing staff will be highlighting the top fantasy prospects in the 2023 class with our Rookie Scouting Profiles. These articles serve as a perfect compliment to the Production Profiles and Rookie Rankings we have in the Dynasty Pass, part of the 2023 Ultimate Draft Kit+.
Yesterday, Kyle kicked things off with his breakdown on the Ohio State QB, C.J. Stroud and Marvin Elequin took a look at USC’s Jordan Addison. Next on the list is Alabama QB Bryce Young, who should hear his name called in the top 10 picks of April’s NFL Draft. We’ll take a look at his college production profile, check out what’s on tape and discuss what his fantasy outlook might look like in 2023 and beyond. Let’s dive in!
College Production Profile
|Year||Games Played||Completion Rate||Pass Yards||Yards Per Attempt||Passing TD||TD Rate||Passer Rating|
Bryce Young was a heavily recruited 5-star prospect coming out of high school, receiving plenty of offers from all of the top programs around the country. He decided to play for Nick Saban at Alabama, taking over as the starter in 2021 after Mac Jones left for the NFL. Young burst onto the scene in his first year as the starter, throwing for nearly 5,000 yards while leading Alabama to the National Championship game of the College Football Playoff. In addition to leading the Crimson Tide to a 13-2 record, Young took home the coveted Heisman Trophy award while also earning First Team All-American honors.
In 2022, Young’s raw numbers when you look at his season-long totals seemed to take a hit, but when you consider that he only played in 12 games (he missed a couple of games due to a shoulder injury), his efficiency metrics remained elite. Young’s 8.8 yards per attempt mark and his 8.5% TD rate in his two years as a starter are extremely impressive, especially when you consider that Young lost John Metchie (Round 2 NFL pick) and Jameson Williams (Round 1 NFL pick) to the NFL Draft. What’s not shown above, is Young’s rushing production, which really wasn’t anything to write home about until last year.
In 2022, Young added 185 rushing yards (~15 yards per game) and four rushing scores. Obviously, these aren’t Lamar Jackson or Jalen Hurts type numbers, but this is a part of his game that stood out on tape repeatedly – the ability to become a playmaker when out of structure. I’ll discuss this more when we get to Young’s film, but one thing I love about him as a player is his ability to pick up an extra 8, 10, 12 yards to keep the chains moving. As we’re seeing in today’s NFL, the number of pure pocket passers is slowly dwindling. Being able to create with your legs is starting to become a staple of NFL QBs, and Young can certainly do this. Again, he probably won’t be a 700 or 800-yard rusher in the NFL, but his athleticism when the play breaks down is clear as day.
|21.6||6′ 0″||194 lbs.|
The number one “weakness” or concern you’ll see this offseason about Bryce Young is height and size. He’s listed at an even six feet tall on most sites, but there’s a chance he’s shorter than this when measured at the NFL Scouting Combine in a couple of weeks. To me personally, if he measures in at 5’11”, it’s more of a yellow flag that should be considered in the grand scheme of his profile rather than a big concern. We have seen shorter QBs have success in both the NFL and fantasy over the last several years – Drew Brees, Russell Wilson and Kyler Murray are all below six feet tall and have been fixtures in our fantasy lineups for years.
There’s no way around it, however. Young will be one of the smallest QBs in the NFL once he hears his name called in April. Per our Production Profiles in the Dynasty Pass, the NFL QB1 average is 6′ 2.6″ and 221 pounds. I went back and looked at every QB who was drafted in the first round of the NFL Draft over the last five years to see where Young stacks up.
|Kenny Pickett||6′ 3″||217 lbs.|
|Trevor Lawrence||6′ 6″||221 lbs.|
|Zach Wilson||6′ 3″||210 lbs.|
|Trey Lance||6′ 3″||224 lbs.|
|Mac Jones||6′ 3″||217 lbs.|
|Joe Burrow||6′ 3″||221 lbs.|
|Tua Tagovailoa||6′ 0″||217 lbs.|
|Justin Herbert||6′ 6″||236 lbs.|
|Jordan Love||6′ 4″||224 lbs.|
|Kyler Murray||5′ 10″||207 lbs.|
|Daniel Jones||6′ 5″||221 lbs.|
|Dwayne Haskins||6′ 3″||231 lbs.|
|Baker Mayfield||6′ 1″||215 lbs.|
|Sam Darnold||6′ 3″||221 lbs.|
|Josh Allen||6′ 5″||237 lbs.|
|Josh Rosen||6′ 4″||226 lbs.|
|Lamar Jackson||6′ 2″||216 lbs.|
As you can see, Young’s body type doesn’t necessarily fit what the NFL is generally looking for in a QB prospect’s frame. Of course, size is only a portion of Young’s profile, but it’s no doubt going to be something talked about by the NFL Draft and dynasty community alike for the next few months.
I’ll circle back to this article and update it once we have official numbers from Indianapolis.
What’s on Tape
Games viewed: Texas A&M (2021), Georgia (2021), Tennessee (2021), Texas (2022), LSU (2022), Arkansas (2022), Ole Miss (2022)
1. Bryce Young is an elite playmaker who shines when the play breaks down.
I touched on this briefly above, but if I had one word to describe Bryce Young, it would be “playmaker.” Young is quick and decisive in the pocket, and when the play breaks down, he’s not afraid to tuck it and run. Expecting some elite numbers on the ground from Young in the NFL would probably be foolish, but this play is a perfect example of the type of mobility that can help Young not only pad the stat line for fantasy, but also help his NFL team stay ahead of the chains and pick up a first down when he needs to. I see a lot of prime Russell Wilson’s scrambling ability when I watch Young.
This play above is more of an example of Young’s ability to pick up yards with his legs when he needs to, but I wouldn’t say he’s always looking to run first when he does see the play or protection breaking down. Rather, Young is looking to keep the play alive and throw if it’s available, but he’s a smart player who seems to have that internal clock ticking at all times, knowing when to tuck it and run versus when he’s got a few extra seconds to let his guys get open.
2. Arm strength is not an issue.
Man, the Georgia tape from the SEC Title game has some really encouraging and impressive plays. Remember – that defense was filled with NFL talent and largely considered the best in the country. This throw to Jameson Williams on the deep ball is a thing of beauty. Sure, he doesn’t have any pressure in his face when he lets it go, but he drops the ball in a bucket between two defenders and lets his WR run underneath it for the long score. For those keeping score at home, that’s about a 65-yard dart on the money.
3. The Alabama QB has a quick release with plenty of accuracy to put the ball where it’s supposed to be, especially over the middle of the field.
Credit to Alabama’s offensive scheme for creating a lot of what I call “layup” throws for their QB. They used a lot of RPOs and play action with crossing routes and quick hitters. On those throws, Young was frequently on time and accurate, either throwing it into a soft spot in the zone or hitting his WR in stride to let him continue to run after the catch. For shorter QB, Young is pretty dang accurate over the middle of the field and he sees it pretty well.
This play against Ole Miss is an NFL caliber throw. Young feels the pressure coming and that quick release helps him get the ball out on time to not only avoid the sack, but hit his WR in stride for the score.
What’s NOT on Tape
1. Football IQ
It’s tough to put into words, but just from the eye test, it looked to me like Bryce Young was able to command his offense with an incredibly high level of football IQ. I don’t claim to be a QB scout, so I’ll defer to an expert in the NFL Scouting community, Dane Brugler of the Athletic. In his Top 100 Prospects article, he wrote, “Bryce Young is an instinctive problem-solver at the quarterback position. Given his slight frame, it is fair to question his long-term durability, but Young processes his surroundings extremely well with the uncanny vision, instincts and accuracy needed to thrive at the next level.”
I think this quote sums it up perfectly for the Bama QB’s football intelligence.
2. Snaps under center
In the seven games I watched, Bryce Young didn’t take a single snap from under center. A lot of this is scheme dependent and might be a non-factor in the NFL, but it is worth pointing out that an NFL pass rush is generally much better than anything Young faced in college. When under center, a QB has to turn their back to the defense in play action or drop back after taking the snap, which just adds another level of complexity to diagnosing defensive coverages. We’re seeing many offenses use a heavy dose of shotgun, and I’m not saying Young can’t play from under center, it’s just something that is a bit of a question mark when looking at Young’s tape.
As with any rookie QB, it’s a tough sell for redraft leagues outside of 2QB or Superflex formats. Historically, we don’t see rookie QBs make a meaningful fantasy impact, especially early in the season, and when you consider that Young is very likely to go early in the first round of the NFL Draft, he’ll likely be going to a team that’s in the middle of a rebuild (Texans, Colts, Panthers, for example) without elite talent to support Young as a consistent fantasy option right out of the gate.
As for dynasty formats, Bryce Young is a tantalizing prospect who should be locked into the top five picks of dynasty rookie drafts for superflex leagues. In single QB leagues, expect Young to go late in the first round or early in the second round with a chance to develop into a consistent fantasy option in year two and beyond. In general, QBs take time to develop in the NFL and there’s a lot of moving parts when trying to diagnose which signal callers may turn into top tier options – scheme, coaching, offensive line play, and quality of the skill position players on that team’s depth chart all play a major role in that player’s development. However, Young has the skillset and playmaking ability that makes him an exciting option for dynasty players. Time will tell if he can develop into a franchise QB and a consistent starter in fantasy leagues.