Following the whirlwind that was the 2022 quarterback class, it would be hard for the 2023 class to fare much worse. After all, we saw just one quarterback selected in the first round and none were taken in the second round. However, all of that promises to change next season. Headlining the class are two NCAA QBs from some of the biggest schools in the country. Of course, these are Bryce Young from Alabama and C.J. Stroud from Ohio State.
Let’s take a look at two elite NCAA QBs
In 2021, Young was nearly unstoppable. With 4,872 passing yards, 47 touchdowns, and just seven interceptions, he was magnificent all season long and earned the Heisman Trophy. The season would culminate in a National Championship that the Crimson Tide would lose to Georgia. Despite the loss, he will certainly be back as the starter in 2022.
On the field, there is not much that Young does poorly. His arm is perfectly capable of making any throw on the field, and he does a terrific job of throwing with touch. Tough to teach, he can drop the ball into spaces that many can’t. In addition, he is a good athlete who is capable of creating plays in the open field with his legs.
His poise will most likely impress NFL teams. Coming from Alabama, he has played in no shortage of massive games, including multiple playoff games. This calmness under pressure was most evident against Auburn. In one of the biggest games of the season, Young led the Crimson Tide down the field and threw a touchdown to send the game to overtime. Simply, the moment is never too big for him.
Stroud will almost certainly fall victim to lazy analysis this draft season. Since he plays for Ohio State, there will be those who say he won’t succeed due to the lack of success from that position in the NFL. Obviously, that is not fair to him as the players who wore the same helmet as him in the past have no bearing on his future.
The other cheap criticism will be that he plays in a “one-read” or “simple” offense. However, since Ryan Day has taken over as the play-caller in Columbus, the offense has implemented a more pro-style approach. Stroud is consistently asked to make reads across the field and does so quickly and correctly.
In addition to this, he is an incredibly talented thrower who can stand and deliver in the pocket with the best of them. While his mechanics have a tendency to get a bit wild on him at times, he is surgical when dialed in. He is quite reminiscent of Dak Prescott at times.
How high can they go?
Both Young and Stroud feel like locks to be selected in the first round. Barring an absolute collapse from one of them this season, they will likely go within the top five. In fact, many fans are already excited about the prospects of landing one of these young passers.
Many teams opted out of the 2021 quarterback class in the hopes of landing either Stroud or Young. For a team such as the Detroit Lions or Seattle Seahawks, these young quarterbacks would be a dream come true. While they still have one more year of college football left, neither has much to prove.
*Top Photo: The Columbus Dispatch