With the Super Bowl behind us, it's time to turn our attention to the NFL Draft and the incoming 2023 rookie class. Dwain McFarland breaks down the pros and cons of Bryce Young as a dynasty prospect.

Bryce Young

  • Rookie Draft ADP: 6
  • Underdog ADP: 137
  • Mock Draft v2: 1st overall (Panthers)
  • Landing Spot: Carolina Panthers (1st Overall)

Fantasy Outlook

On one hand, you could argue Young has a tough road ahead of him in Year 1. Carolina's offensive line ranked top 12 in pass block win rate last season but didn't receive any notable upgrades through free agency or the draft. Meanwhile, Atlanta beefed up their defense, and the Saints and Buccaneers ended ‘22 in the top 10 for adjusted sack rate. With an average pass-catching corps and no upside as a runner, Young could struggle early.

However, on the flip side, the former Alabama QB enters an enviable environment. Head coach Frank Reich and OC Thomas Brown (former Rams assistant head coach) have enough experience to blend Young's strengths into their play calling. Heavy doses of play-action or quick-game passing with YAC receivers like Jonathan Mingo could produce usable fantasy weeks, but we may have to wait well into the season to see those results.

Way-too-early 2023 redraft rank: Low-end QB2

Bryce Young is currently the No. 1 QB selection in most NFL mock drafts, but a lot can change between now and the draft with C.J. StroudAnthony Richardson, and Will Levis all gaining steam as of late.

Pro Football Focus (PFF) gave Young a 93.0 passer grade, which places him at the top of the rankings among 169 FBS QBs with at least 250 dropbacks over the last two seasons.

He delivered 8.8 yards per attempt (YPA) with a 65.6% completion rate, and both metrics were well above the FBS averages of 7.6 and 62.5%, respectively. Young can make throws to all levels of the field and understands how to handle the types of pressures and disguised coverage looks that the NFL will throw at him.

Yes, he played with high-end talent at Alabama, but Young isn’t just a product of the system. He can make plays both inside and outside of structure.

Concerns about his size could potentially cause him to drop in the draft, but make no mistake. Young is the best pure passer in this rookie class and would be a lock to go first overall in most draft classes if he were a prototypical prospect at 6’2 and 215 lbs.

Bryce Young

Sep 10, 2022; Austin, Texas, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Bryce Young (9) warms up before the game against the Texas Longhorns during the first half at at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports


Exhibits downfield accuracy

No QB in this class was more accurate when targeting pass-catchers 10 or more yards downfield than Young, and having downfield accuracy is a key component for collegiate players transitioning to the NFL.

Young’s 63.3% adjusted completion rate (which removes drops credited to receivers) was well above the FBS average of 54.8%, demonstrating his ability to push the ball into downfield passing windows with precision.

Overcomes sub-optimal environments

While Alabama's offensive line excelled at pass-blocking, Young didn’t thrive due to that alone. According to draft analysts, he's a great processor as well.

Among the 146 QBs who registered at least 100 dropbacks under pressure, Young ranked sixth in passing grade on his 370 dropbacks under pressure. He delivered an eye-popping 26 TDs and only six INTs under duress, and his 8.4 YPA was sterling in comparison to the 6.1 YPA average of his peers.

His ability to overcome difficult situations goes beyond just navigating pressure in the pocket. Per PFF, when facing third or fourth-down conversions of six yards or longer, Young ranked as the No. 2 passer with a 10.1 YPA (second among qualifying QBs) and a 74.1% adjusted completion rate (10th among QBs).

And against disguised coverages, a growing trend in the NFL, Young was still able to diagnose and deliver results. It should come as no surprise that he ranked as the No. 1 passer against such looks per PFF.

While his peers saw their turnover-worthy play (TWP) rate spike to 6.3% on these looks, Young prevailed against disguised coverages, having put the ball in harm's way on just 1.6% of his dropbacks in these scenarios.


Pressure PFF Pass Grade

Disguised Coverage TWP

Bryce Young



C.J. Stroud



Will Levis



Anthony Richardson



Lance Zierlein sums up some of Young’s strengths well, referencing his calm demeanor, aptitude for diagnosing zone coverage, and ability to handle the pass rush. Zierlein also highlights Young's knack for making “defenses pay when he breaks contain and improvises", which brings us to our next point.

Makes splash plays out of structure

The best current QBs in the NFL, like Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen, are the kings of creating big plays outside of structure in scramble-drill situations. In such scenarios, Mahomes and Allen have each logged 18 passing TDs over the last three seasons.

While some will want to dismiss Young in this department due to his smaller stature and lack of rushing production when scrambling, he is the best college passer during scramble drills with 11 TD passes and only three INTs over the past two years.

Richardson, who is generally considered to be a much more athletic QB prospect in this class, made only 13 pass attempts on scramble drills, and he managed to complete just two of those.

That's not to say that Richardson can’t improve in this area. Instead, this illustrates the point that simply because a QB is big and fast doesn’t mean that he can create big plays out of structure like Young can.



Alabama listed Young at 194 lbs., but he was able to weigh in at 204 lbs. at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis. Per NFL.com, no QB under 207 lbs. has been drafted in the first round of the NFL Draft since 2003.

Life in the NFL as a featherweight could be tough for Young, as 300 lb. defensive linemen will constantly be looking to knock him to the ground. However, if he can play closer to his combine weight, we have had some recent examples of similar-sized QBs who've found success in the league.

Limited rushing upside

Young operates with a pass-first mentality and scrambled on just 6.1% of his collegiate dropbacks in 2021 and 2022. However, he has shown the ability to escape the pocket and could slightly exceed that rate in the NFL if his receiving options aren’t open.

Ultimately though, Young is unlikely to ever be a major factor in the designed-run game, which caps his dual-threat potential for fantasy production.

Fantasy Impact

Young has more value in dynasty formats than in best ball and season-long contests for 2023. His upside as a passer is undeniable, but unless he were to slide in the NFL Draft, Young is likely to land with a team that won’t have the weapons (e.g., the Texans) to support immediate fantasy production from him.

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Assuming that NFL GMs don’t get cold feet, Young's first-round draft capital would guarantee him multiple seasons as a starter to reach his full potential in dynasty.

If Young does end up with an organization that eventually builds a strong supporting cast around him, his hypothetical ceiling could be similar to that of an elite pocket passer like Joe Burrow.

Young's mid-range outcome would likely be a low-end fantasy QB1. Because he lacks much rushing upside, Young would need an outlier season with a spike in efficiency or TDs to reach elite fantasy production. Without the rushing production, his floor outlook would likely be that of a mid-range QB2 in fantasy.

Dynasty Rookie Profile
Dwain McFarland
Dwain McFarland
Dwain is the Lead Fantasy Analyst and Director of Analytics of Fantasy Life. He is best known for the Utilization Report, which led to his first full-time role in the industry at Pro Football Focus. Dwain’s experience and background have helped him craft a unique voice in the fantasy football community. He has placed highly in multiple national season-long contests, including three top-five finishes at the FFPC. Before beginning his fantasy career in 2018, Dwain led product strategy and data and analytics teams for one of the largest healthcare improvement companies in the nation.