RSP analyst David Igono illustrates why Alabama quarterback Bryce Young has met the lofty expectations that today’s college game demands of underclassmen starters while also showing the promise to develop into an NFL prospect.
Thanks to the transfer portal and NIL — name, image, and likeness compensation — we now have a college football environment that demands instant gratification at the quarterback positions. Fans, coaches, and evaluators expect immediate production.
And there’s no better way to raise expectations than to land a mobile, athletic quarterback who can win with his legs.
The flip-side of this equation is that mobile, athletic quarterbacks often have a common flaw with their developmental arc: As they cycle through their reads on pass plays, there’s a food truck-sized magnet that pulls them toward the line of scrimmage, clouding their ability to see the coverage and compelling them to run.
Alabama sophomore Bryce Young rarely shows this weakness. Young’s seamless transition as the offensive figurehead of the most high-profile college team in the nation will only encourage more comparisons to recent first-day draft picks.
A competent and willing point guard of the Crimson Tide offense, Young amplifies offensive weapons with his quick and decisive mind for the game while also using his individual athletic skills to attack the defense.
He is the ultimate pressure cooker for coverage.
As impressive as Young has been, there are some weaknesses with his intermediate game, but even this should improve as he continues his development. It’s why the upside potential with Young’s game is strong.
The best play a quarterback can make is often the threat of play he can make later on. Although the chest-pass shown below is not an ideal decision, it illustrates Young using that potential threat to force the defense to pick its poison.
Young’s rapid-fire decisions are rooted in his knowledge of the playbook and coverages as well as a refined confidence in his own ability. The clip below demonstrates his ability to make decisions at speed without sacrificing the leverage that his mobility has created over the defense.
Young’s intermediate throws lack the necessary zip to affect a defense on all three levels. With routine strength training and a dedicated focus on his throwing mechanics, Young will be able to consistently hit targets like the one he had difficulty with below.
If Young doesn’t improve his velocity, the pass shown above is likely to be deflected or intercepted on Sundays. Expect Young to continue working on driving the ball with more authority on similar targets moving forward.
Young’s upside is abundant as a first-year starter. He has a knack for blending a shark-like aggression with the calm hand of a seasoned chef. Once Young diagnoses coverage, he attacks.
Splash plays like this will rightly excite the media and many evaluators when considering the prospect of Young running their offense in seasons to come. For me, it’s the play below that’s most compelling. Only a handful of quarterbacks in the NFL can stress test a defense this way.
Young cancels out two players with his eyes — three if you include the safety in the deep middle-third in zone coverage. Despite one of the top receivers in the nation running free behind them, the defenders are forced to honor Young’s mobility.
Any time this happens, it’s a tough out for any defense.
To this point, Bryce Young has handled the pressure of college football well — on and off the field. He is keen facilitator of the offense, knowing when to be aggressive and when to simply keep the offense on schedule.
He has room to grow as a passer and it’s likely to happen. The overall combination of Young’s mobility and decision-making presents a Gordian Knot for defenses to solve.
Don’t expect them to untie it any time in the near future.
For the most in-depth analysis of offensive skill players available (QB, RB, WR, and TE), download the 2021 Rookie Scouting Portfolio for $21.95.
Matt’s new RSP Dynasty Rankings and Two-Year Projections Package is available for $24.95
If you’re a fantasy owner and interested in purchasing past publications for $9.95 each, the 2012-2020 RSPs also have a Post-Draft Add-on that’s included at no additional charge.
Best yet, a proceeds from sales are set aside for a year-end donation to Darkness to Light to combat sexual abuse.