It wasn't the National Championship Game, but Bryce Young closed out his Alabama career in style in the Sugar Bowl on Saturday. The star quarterback was simply electric, completing 15-of-21 passes for 321 yards and five touchdowns, including some dazzling throws. In an era where star players often opt out of bowl games, Young decided to go out there one more time with his teammates, and it paid off.
Bryce Young is GENERATIONAL 😳 pic.twitter.com/zpiv5m2cVj
— NFL Rookie Watch (@NFLRookieWatxh) December 31, 2022
Now that the season is in the rearview mirror, though, Young will likely turn his attention to the 2023 NFL Draft. He hasn't officially declared yet, but it would be an absolute shock if he decided to return to Alabama.
From the moment he took his first snap at Alabama, Young was receiving NFL hype. He has only boosted his stock throughout his college career and is now basically a lock to go in the top three. After Saturday's performance, though, Young should be the clear-cut choice to go first overall.
However, there are some other players who could potentially go first overall. Perhaps Young's greatest competition is his own Alabama teammate, Will Anderson Jr., who could be a generational edge rusher. In terms of other quarterbacks, some believe that Ohio State's C.J. Stroud could go before Young.
That said, Young has proven he is more than worthy of being the first overall pick over the competition. Here are two reasons why Bryce Young will go first overall in the 2023 NFL Draft.
2. Whoever gets the first overall pick will likely need a quarterback
The NFL is a quarterback's league, plain and simple. It always has been, but the rise of young superstars like Patrick Mahomes has only fueled the QB arms race even further. If any team wants to have a shot at hoisting the Lombardi Trophy in this era, they must have a capable passer.
With how important quarterbacks are in the NFL, it's only natural that they tend to dominate the draft. A quarterback has been the first overall pick in four of the last five drafts, the only exception being defensive end Travon Walker in 2022. Even that comes with a catch, as the Jacksonville Jaguars just took Trevor Lawrence first overall in 2021, and the 2022 QB class was unusually weak.
In 2023, that trend has a very strong chance of continuing. The Houston Texans, who currently have the first pick, have needs at nearly every position, but quarterback is easily the biggest. Drafting Bryce Young would signal a new era in Houston and give them a stable quarterback for years to come.
Where it could get interesting is if the Chicago Bears, who hold the second pick, end up picking first. The Bears just drafted Justin Fields two years ago, and his development this season ensures they won't go quarterback here. If they do get the top pick, they could take Anderson, or they could opt to trade it.
If they wound up choosing the latter, the team trading up would almost certainly draft a quarterback. The haul a team would have to give up for the first pick is simply too much to not take a signal-caller. The last team to trade up to the first overall pick was the Los Angeles Rams in 2006, and, sure enough, they took a quarterback.
Regardless of who gets the top pick, there's a strong chance Young will be the first player off the board.
1. Bryce Young can become the face of a franchise immediately
It's important to remember that the NFL is a business at the end of the day. And just like any other business, the end goal is to make a profit. In that sense, it becomes even more important to have a true face of the franchise.
A face of the franchise is not only a tremendous asset on the field, but on the business side as well. That player can drive merchandise sales, draw people to come to games and plenty more.
And far more often than not, these faces of the franchise are quarterbacks. Just look at Mahomes in Kansas City, Josh Allen in Buffalo, Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay, and plenty more. There are some faces of the franchise who aren't quarterbacks, like Aaron Donald for the Rams, but they are few and far between.
Bryce Young is one of those players who can instantly become a face of a franchise. He is a star player on the field, and he is insanely marketable already. According to On3, Young is already making $3.5 million annually in NIL money. Just imagine what he can make once he enters the NFL.
Young would not only completely transform a team on the field, but also boost business tremendously. For those reasons, he is the clear No. 1 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.