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Breaking down the Tape: Bryce Young Film Study

Bryce Young is next up in the film room…does this hot quarterback live up to the hype?

With so much buzz around Bryce Young already, I’m devoting this entire installment to him alone. I want to discover if all the hype is deserved or if he falls a little short (pun intended.) Let’s dive in and see how he measures up in this stacked QB class.

Any Flaws?

I evaluated Young as he led the Crimson Tide this last season against Texas A&M. I quickly confirmed what I expected to be the case. This kid has beautiful technique and rhythm, on top of high-level confidence. Before starting my film breakdown, I was excited to find a few flaws in his game, so I chose their only regular-season loss to critique. 

Overhyped?

At Mater Dei and Alabama, Young has been surrounded by such a wealth of talent – on the field and on the sideline. I wondered if his supporting cast may have been so good that they concealed his potential weaknesses. As soon as I pushed play on this young man’s game film, however, I immediately realized that Young is the real deal. The hype is deserved.

Elite Footwork

Jumping right in to what Young excels at, I first noticed how great his footwork is. Combined with his feel in the pocket, which was very relaxed and intentional, it sets him up to make all kinds of throws. He can throw off-platform. Young can change the speed of the ball to match the route and receiver. He employs different arm angles, and much more. 

His ability, in particular, to alter the velocity of each throw is such an advantage. As we all know, there are moments in a game when you need your QB to grip and rip the ball. Other times, a nice soft, catchable ball is required, and Young easily checks both of those boxes. I love Young’s quick game, where he waits for the pressure to get close. He changes his arm angle, and throws an upfield shoulder pass, allowing his teammates to win in space. Skills like these highlight the fact that Young is becoming the ultimate facilitator.

Manipulator

I’m not sure how many designed runs I’d create for Bryce, as I don’t see him as a “running QB” in the NFL. However, he can escape when needed and pick up an easy first down. I love his boot game. He’s very patient and uses his eyes to manipulate the defense, allowing his receiver to get open. That ability to throw off-platform strengthens his game here, too. To me, this is where Young will cook in the NFL. Variations of old-school play design are still alive and kicking, and Bryce excels, both under center and in the gun.

I didn’t see any glaring weaknesses, but if Young’s timing is off, so are his throws. This can also be said about most QBs not named Mahomes, Allen, or Herbert. Conversely, he’s an elite QB when he controls the tempo and masters concepts and pocket flow. 

Why So Low?

The other minor issue I saw with him was his low ball position pre-throw. Often, when we see a younger QB with that positioning, it can decrease the size of the window, as it can increase the time between recognition and release. That said, Young’s quick release is incredible (seriously one of the best) and seems to make up for the low ball position. 

Will his height be an issue? I also looked for that, but Young executed plenty of check-downs and crossers, both over the middle. The big question is, can he do these things because he’s always been surrounded by the most elite talent at each level? And, if he goes to a team that isn’t built to compete right away, will his skills translate as well? This will be what every team has to consider – how can he play when the skills around him aren’t elite when compared to the competition?

Top of the Class?

Based on this film, Young answered those questions with ease. This is why he’s earned the highest grade I’ve given to date, an impressive 82.5. He’s so clean right now that I don’t anticipate that score rising too much over the next season. At this stage of his development, that easily puts him at the top of this loaded class.

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