Sports Illustrated Projects Bryce Young as the No. 1 Overall Pick
Sports Illustrated's Kevin Hanson projects Bryce Young to be the No. 1 overall pick to the Houston Texans in its most recent NFL mock draft. Young would be the first player in Alabama history since Harry Gilmer in 1948 to hear his name called at the top of the draft.
Young is a phenomenal talent that plays with a great feel for the game and is a natural born leader. His ability to create second reaction plays when the original one breaks down around separate him from the rest of the quarterback class.
The Alabama signal-caller has been exceptional in his junior campaign, throwing for 2,234 yards, with 19 touchdowns and four picks, in eight starts. Adding an additional 147 yards and three touchdowns on the ground.
“Young’s slight stature—he’s listed at 6'0" and 194 pounds—is the obvious knock, but he’s a smart and accurate passer with many strengths that warrant this selection. The reigning Heisman Trophy winner has the poise, awareness and instincts to create out of structure when plays break down. His calm demeanor and confidence allow him to play at his best in the game’s biggest moments and elevate the play of those around him," wrote Hanson.
In addition to Young, the Las Vegas Raiders are projected to select Will Anderson at No. 3 in next year's draft. Anderson’s numbers aren’t quite the same as they were a year ago, which is reasonable considering he put together one of the greatest seasons for a defensive player in recent memory. However, the 6-foot-4, 243-pound outside linebacker still has the potential to be on the league’s top pass rushers from day one.
“Anderson’s current production has dipped some (seven sacks and 13 tackles for loss) compared to last year’s dominant season (17.5 sacks and 34.5 TFLs), but he is a true difference-maker who is elite against both the pass and run. Not only is he likely to be the first non-quarterback drafted, but he’s the top overall prospect on my board," wrote Hanson.
A couple of other Crimson Tide players are projected to be selected in the first round, including defensive back Brian Branch at No. 30 to the Buffalo Bills and Jahmyr Gibbs at No. 31 to the Philadelphia Eagles.
Branch has been an impact player from the moment he stepped on campus in 2020 and has continued to progress every year. His versatility will make him a valuable chess piece for any defense at the next level.
“Jordan Poyer is scheduled to become a free agent after the 2022 season. Micah Hyde is out following season-ending neck surgery, but he’s scheduled to become a free agent after ’23. Both safeties are on the wrong side of 30. The Bills appreciate versatility in their safeties, and Branch has a versatile skill set that has allowed Nick Saban to use him in a variety of roles for the Crimson Tide," wrote Hanson.
Gibbs has been as good as advertised since coming to Tuscaloosa via the transfer portal. His running style and versatility out of the backfield have drawn comparisons to the Saints Alvin Kamara.
“Despite his 200-pound frame, Gibbs is a talented runner due to his vision, burst and elusiveness, but he’s especially gifted as a receiver. The Georgia Tech transfer has 99 catches for 1,138 yards (11.5 per catch) and eight touchdowns over three collegiate seasons," wrote Hanson.