Nick Saban unintentionally casts doubt on Bryce Young’s NFL Draft stock

Alabama head coach Nick Saban says Bryce Young’s shoulder injury is fine, so quit asking!

While Alabama is back on top in the latest AP Poll, Nick Saban had to answer questions surrounding the health of his Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback, Bryce Young.

Young suffered a shoulder injury in the first half of last Saturday’s road win at Arkansas. While Jalen Milroe came in and played just fine, Alabama needed a sensational fourth quarter out of running back Jahmyr Gibbs to beat the Hogs, yessir! However, Saban’s comments about Young’s health are not exactly going to help his case in being the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.

“I think he’s OK,” said Saban after Alabama’s road victory over Arkansas. “He doesn’t have a serious injury. We didn’t think he could go back in the game today because I didn’t think he had much steam throwing the ball.

“He’s had these [injuries] before and in a few days he starts to respond pretty well. So we’ll just have to see how it goes and, you know, play it day-to-day.”

While everybody recognizes the arm talent and overall dynamism with which Young plays the quarterback position, his small stature and being somewhat injury-prone almost ensures us that he will not be the first player coming off the board this spring. He will go top 10, but these are the same sort of issues we ran into with Tua Tagovailoa coming out of Alabama in the 2020 NFL Draft.

We are still so far away from the 2023 NFL Draft, but the smart money is on Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud being the first guy off the board. Heck, there is even a chance Young is not even the second quarterback drafted next spring. Kentucky’s Will Levis and even Florida’s Anthony Richardson possess some of that upside many NFL general managers will absolutely salivate over.

For now, it is Young trying his best to play catchup to Stroud, but we are not sure he will get there.

Alabama: Nick Saban unintentionally harpoons Bryce Young’s NFL Draft stock

Yes, there are a handful of teams in the NFL who could use a new franchise quarterback. We know who they are, but all things equal, an NFL general manager is going to side with Stroud over Young for size and durability reasons. This may allow Young to slip a bit and land with potentially a better franchise. Then again, a bad one like the Chicago Bears could trade up to draft their Justin Fields…

While drafting a franchise quarterback is an inexact science, three things are typically true when evaluating a signal-caller of note. The more starts a college quarterback has, the better. Unless you are Josh Allen or Matt Ryan, it is hard to improve accuracy at the next level. And if you are injury-prone in college, you are probably not going to be a bastion of health at the next level…

Young will have two years’ worth of starts under his belt before turning pro. He is more than accurate enough to play on fall Sundays. Where he is getting dinged is in the health department. This is why Tagovailoa may never live up to the hype of the No. 5 overall pick by the Miami Dolphins. Not to say he is a left-handed Sam Bradford, but he is on that career trajectory so far.

The combination of size and injury history does not bode well for Young becoming the No. 1 pick.

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