Alabama head coach Nick Saban is all-in on Bryce Young being the top quarterback taken.
Nick Saban is not about to take someone other than Bryce Young at quarterback in the 2023 NFL Draft, so quit askin’!
I mean, why would he feel any different? Saban may not have won a national title with Young as his Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback, but it is so obvious that he has to be the first quarterback taken that it is stupid. He may be small in stature, but Young plays with a certain magic you can never hope to bottle up. This is the exact man to build an NFL franchise around.
Saban appeared on Know Mercy with Stephen A. Smith discussing Young’s NFL Draft stock.
“We’ve all seen the 6-foot-4, 225-pound guy that can throw it like a bazooka, but he can’t make the choices and decisions; he can’t distribute the ball, he can’t throw it accurately. So who’s the better bet? I’m going on history, production, performance, and Bryce Young’s done it about as well as anybody.”
Young was a five-star coming out of high school and was pure-class his entire time at Alabama. There are three other quarterbacks worthy of being the first one taken this spring, but Young is the only one where if you were to pass on him and the guy you takes bombs, your entire coaching staff is getting fired and your daughters are going to have to find a new private school to attend.
Here is the entire episode of Saban speaking with Smith about all things Young and Alabama.
Nick Saban is all about Bryce Young being the first quarterback taken in draft
The good news for Saban is he will likely end up being right in the end, per usual. Florida’s Anthony Richardson may have the highest ceiling, but he is a total boom-or-bust player. Kentucky’s Will Levis has a powerful arm and is very much what the league is looking for, but he could bust in the wrong spot. As for Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud, he is the one player I would take over Young if I had to.
The reason Saban will be proven right is this one fact: The Houston Texans are picking No. 2. They need a quarterback worse than my pollen-covered Jeep straight chilling in the parking lot needs a car wash. It’s brutal out there, man. Factor in Houston being led by a former Alabama star in DeMeco Ryans, and Young is so going there. The question is if someone will be trading up to No. 1.
That I think is where it gets interesting. The Chicago Bears don’t need a quarterback and are a prime trade-down candidate. They can get a defensive star somewhere in the top 10, recoup even more draft capital this year and next, while continuing to build around Justin Fields. The question is who could move up to No. 1 and who would be in the market to draft Levis, Richardson or Stroud.
We can definitely remove the Arizona Cardinals, the Seattle Seahawks and the Philadelphia Eagles from the equation because they all have Pro Bowl starters at the position. While the Detroit Lions could upgrade from Jared Goff, he’s fine and the Bears play in the same division as them. As for the Atlanta Falcons at No. 8, who even knows what they are doing, to be totally honest here y’all?
Truthfully, I doubt the Carolina Panthers will move up from No. 9 to No. 1 in conference in a deal with the Bears to take Stroud because Frank Reich doesn’t do short dudes. They could probably stand relatively pat and get Levis anyway. Now we must turn our attention to two teams inside the top 10 who we need to pay close attention to: The Indianapolis Colts and Las Vegas Raiders.
The Colts are in division with the Texans. Owner Jim Irsay has spoken fondly of Young and new head coach Shane Steichen had great success with a shorter quarterback in Philadelphia with Jalen Hurts. Indianapolis has also been linked to Stroud, Levis and Richardson. They are the likeliest team to move up to No. 1 in a deal with the Bears. Watch out for the Colts next month.
And then there’s the Raiders…
Like the Colts, Panthers and Texans, the Silver and Black are definitely in the market for a quarterback. While they could be an interesting fit for Lamar Jackson, they feel like the team who could trade up to No. 1 and draft Richardson on upsides alone. Then again, they have shown an affinity for Stroud and a liking for Levis. They may be the least interested in Young of all of them.
Ultimately, the smart money is on Young going first because it is the most logical thing to do if you are running a quarterback-desperate team. No one will blame you if he fails and one of the other three guys flourishes. Young has high character and great football IQ. Even if he is the least physically impressive of the bunch, he is the safest pick of the quartet for mostly football reasons.
Nobody likes being right more than Saban other than Mike Krzyzewski who made a career on it.