So much speculation led up to the draft and what the Bears would do with the first overall pick. Those conversations ramped up when Carolina traded for it. After weeks of anticipation, we finally got our answer. We’ll be covering that today in our second 2023 Fantasy Football Rookie Profile: Bryce Young.
A long-time favorite to be the first overall selection, it wasn’t always a shoo-in for Young. After Carolina traded up, CJ Stroud was the favorite for a while. Then it went back to Young. Then rumors swirled just days before the draft that Will Levis was going to the Panthers. In the end, though, it was Bryce Young, the first overall pick of the 2023 NFL Draft.
Carolina had been in search of a starting quarterback for several years now, very much following the Colts’ route of using veterans when they brought in the likes of Teddy Bridgewater, Sam Darnold, and Baker Mayfield in recent seasons. But they decided to end that ride to nowhere and selected who they believe is the quarterback of the future. Ironically, the Colts had the same idea and they selected Anthony Richardson fourth overall.
I’m far from a professional film or talent evaluator, but I will give you my honest opinion of what I can see with my eyes and the stats on Young in college to deduce how I think he will do in the NFL now and in the future. Let’s dive in!
2023 Fantasy Football Rookie Profile: Bryce Young
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Bryce Young College Profile and Production
Bryce Young ended his college career as a Heisman winner and a National Champion. His 8356 career passing yards are second in school history only to AJ McCarron. He is arguably one of if not the best, quarterbacks in Alabama history.
He maintains his cool in the pocket, stepping forward and avoiding pressure to deliver a strike downfield. When he needs to, Young has a great ability to scramble and extend plays if the pocket collapses.
Another thing I like about Young is his ability to find another gear when it’s clutch time, even if he had been having a bad game up to that point. His game against LSU in 2022 comes to mind. Watching his tape from that game was painful, but he got it going late. That kind of mentality of getting back up and pushing forward will be a useful trait in the pros.
If there’s one thing to dislike about Young, it’s his size. He’s 5’10” and weighed in at 204 lbs. Of the many QB’s drafted since 2000 who are similar to Young's size, few have fared well in the NFL. The good news is Russell Wilson measured in at 5’11” and 204 lbs and we know he did just fine, a near exact size comp for Young. When considering QBs picked in the first round of the NFL Draft, Wilson is out of the equation but you have Young, Kyler Murray, Michael Vick, and Johnny Manziel. The only player who was not a first-overall pick on that list was Manziel.
One thing guys at Young’s size have in common who succeeded in the NFL was they are dual-threat quarterbacks (Wilson, Murray, Vick). However, Bryce has not shown us dual-threat capability so far. I’m not saying he can’t do it, just saying he has yet to do it. But he seems to be in the mold of a pocket passer.
So how does this affect my outlook on him in fantasy football? Well.
Bryce Young in Carolina
The answer is, it really doesn’t. Rookie QBs usually take time to develop, and I feel the same will be true for Young. So he takes a downgrade there, as the rushing floor is likely low. But, the good news is Carolina has a good offensive line. That is crucial for helping young quarterbacks, who are learning the speed of the game, and helps them not develop bad habits due to poor O-line play. And remember, the Panthers invested a lot in him. They wanted him, so he will get a fair shot at becoming their franchise guy.
His surrounding cast is capable, but not special. Adam Thielen and DJ Chark are fine NFL receivers, and it won’t surprise me if Thielen starts the season off as Young’s top target. But, the Panthers also drafted Jonathan Mingo out of Ole Miss in the second round, a surprise selection. His college production profile is lacking but he has the size and athleticism to grow into the top target role in this offense. Miles Sanders out of the backfield and Hayden Hurst at the tight end provide reliable dump-off and safety valves for Carolina’s new QB.
Overall, Young is more of a dynasty asset than a redraft one. I do think he can be a QB2 in year one for Superflex leagues or a bye week fill-in in 1QB redraft leagues if the matchup is right. That’s mostly just because of his current situation. Carolina will need to add a WR to their roster via the draft or free agency in 2024, as Thielen is aging out and there’s no guarantee that Mingo can develop into an alpha receiver.
I feel we’ll really start seeing Young take off in year two, but that doesn’t stop me from taking him early in superflex rookie drafts or even toward the end of the draft in redraft leagues as my backup QB.
That will do it for our 2023 Fantasy Football Rooke Profile: Bryce Young. Thanks for reading and make sure to check back often, we’ve got more on the way as football season ramps up!