Bryce Young

NFC South Rookie Of The Year?

By: Kenneth Harrison news services

The 2023 NFL season will start in a few weeks. Let’s take a look around the NFC South and see what rookies in the division will have the biggest impact.

Bryce Young, Carolina: Young was the first pick of the 2023 NFL Draft so we have to start with him. He had a lot of success at Alabama. He won the Heisman Trophy in 2021, won the SEC Championship and led the Crimson Tide to the National Championship game.

His biggest question at the next level is his size. He’s only 5’10, 205 pounds. He has a slight build so we do not know if he can take the punishment from being hit by pro defenders.

He is the projected starter Week 1 and we keep hearing positive things from his teammates.

The Panthers played the Giants in their second preseason game last week. Young finished 3-of-6 for 35 yards on two series at MetLife Stadium, making him 7-of-12 for 56 yards in two preseason games.

“I thought Bryce looked sharp,” coach Frank Reich said. “Put together a nice drive. Would have liked to have finished if off [with a touchdown]. Obviously, unhappy with the number of penalties we had.

“But I thought Bryce looked sharp. I think he wanted to throw the ball more, but I thought he looked sharp.”

Bijan Robinson, Atlanta: The Falcons picked Robinson with the No. 8 pick in the draft, which raised some eyebrows.

Rookie Tyler Allgier rushed for 1,035 yards, 3 touchdowns and averaged 4.9 yards per carry. He only started seven games so he did well in a limited role, so it did not look like the Falcons needed another running back.

They also still have Cordarrele Patterson and they are listed as the top two backs on the depth chart.

The value of running backs has gone down since most offenses showcase the passing game.

Robinson was the top rated back and he had a great career at Texas. He won the Doak Walker Award last year and he was a unanimous All-American. He rushed for 1,580 yards and 18 TD’s. Running backs can make an immediate impact so he is expected to produce like Saquon Barkley did as a rookie in 2018. Barkley had 2,028 all-purpose yards and 15 scores.

Bryan Bresee, New Orleans: Bresee was selected 29th in the draft.

He was considered as the top recruit coming out of high school but he did not live up to that at Clemson. He is 6’5, 305 pounds, so he has prototypical size for a defensive tackle.

He is a very good athlete with excellent strength so he should help the Saints interior line. In the second preseason game against the Chargers he recovered a fumble.

Calijah Kancey, Tampa Bay: Kancey was the 19th player selected and he draws comparisons to another Pitt defensive tackle, Aaron Donald.

He was a unanimous All-American and ACC Defensive Player of the Year.

In 2022 he started 11 games and missed two games with an injury. He had 31 tackles, 14.5 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks.

Kancey has great speed and he should routinely make plays in the opposing team’s backfield.

I’m looking forward to see how these rookies perform in 2023.

The Measurables

By: Kenneth Harrison news services

The 2023 NFL Draft is later this month. Let’s take a look at the top quarterback prospects.

Bryce Young, Alabama: In his two seasons as the starter in Tuscaloosa his record is 23 – 4.

In 2021 he won just about every accolade you can imagine. He won the Heisman Trophy, Maxwell Award, Davey O’Brien Award, Manning Award, AP College Football Player of the Year, Sporting News College Football Player of the Year, Consensus All-American, SEC Offensive Player of the Year and SEC Championship Game MVP.

He’s thrown for 8,356 yards, 80 touchdowns, 12 interceptions and he completed 65.8% of his passes in his career. Young is 5’10, 204 pounds so he does not have the prototypical height for the position.

At his pro day he threw 50 passes and completed 44 of them. Four of the incomplete passes were not his fault. He has exceptionally good accuracy and he’s expected to be the top pick, going to Carolina.

C.J. Stroud, Ohio State: I think he’s the best prospect in the draft. Stroud is 21 – 4 in his two seasons as a starter. He’s 6’3, 214 pounds so he has the height to see over defenders and offensive lineman in the pocket.

In his career he passed for 7,775 yards, 81 TD’s, 12 picks with a 69.3% completion rate. He played the best game of his career in his final game in the College Football Playoff against Georgia.

It says a lot about his character that he was able to play his best on a national stage against the best team in the nation. He should be picked No. 2 by the Houston Texans.

Will Levies, Kentucky: After the first two quarterbacks I think there’s a precipitous drop off in talent. Levis started his career at Penn State from 2018 to 2020.

He redshirted his first year, then spent the next two as Sean Clifford’s backup. He transferred to Kentucky in 2021, after graduating that May with a bachelor’s degree in finance from Penn State’s Smeal College of Business.

In his two season’s starting in Lexington his record is 18 – 8, which is impressive for Kentucky. He’s thrown for 5,876 yards, 46 scores, 25 interceptions and he completed 64.9% of his passes.

He’s thrown double digit interceptions in both seasons so he does turn the ball over. Some people make the argument that the Wildcats lacked talent so he had to force some throws.

He is 6’4, 232 lbs. so he has good size. He’s now projected to go later in the first round, possibly as late as the No. 19 pick to Tampa Bay.

Anthony Richardson, Florida: He’s the example of possessing all of the measurables but the film does not match that. He’s 6’4, 244 pounds so scouts fell in love with his size. Then he ran a 4.43 40-yard dash and had a 40.5 inch vertical jump.

Now for what he’s done on the field. He’s only started 13 games, with a 6 – 7 record.

He’s passed for 3,105 yards, 24 touchdowns, 15 interceptions and completed 54.7% of his passes. He did rush for 1,116 yards and 12 scores.

He struggles with accuracy and turning the ball over. He also does not have much playing experience. He’s going to be drafted high based on his potential.

He has been projected to be drafted as high as No. 4. I think he will be picked in the top 10 by a desperate franchise, even though he is expected to be a backup as a rookie.



By: Kipp Branch news services

1.Bryce Young, Alabama – Young is the 2021 Heisman Trophy winner who accounted for 47 touchdowns last season. The redshirt sophomore will have Alabama once again in contention for a National Championship. Young is without a doubt the top quarterback in the SEC and the entire country going into the 2022 season. Young could be the first name called in the 2023 NFL draft for a team that needs a franchise quarterback.

2.Stetson Bennett, Georgia – When you lead a team trailing with 8 minutes left to victory in the National Championship game, you land high on any QB ranking list. Bennett is a winner that folks not associated with UGA like to dismiss. He won the national title game with his arm with two touchdown passes in the fourth quarter to lead UGA to that win over Alabama. The QB that is ranked higher on this list than Bennett, ended his 2021 season with a 79-yard pick six to Kelee Ringo. The Mailman will deliver once again this fall for the Georgia Bulldogs.

3.KJ Jefferson, Arkansas – Jefferson is an exceptionally large man. The Razorbacks’ 6-3, 250-pound dual-threat talent led a resurgence for Razorback football in 2021. Jefferson has Arkansas believing that they can supplant Alabama in the SEC West. If Jefferson plays well in 2022 then Arkansas should make some noise in the SEC West. I hope I am not over-hyping Jefferson.

4.Will Rogers, Mississippi State – Rogers can sling the football in Mike Leach’s Air Raid attack. He led the league in passing yards per game in 2021. He passed for 4,700 yards and completed almost 74% of his throws. This kid is good. You never know what you are going to get when you play against a Mike Leach team, but this QB makes State a dangerous team to go up against in 2022. Can you imagine Rogers leading a Texas A&M team in search of a topflight quarterback?

5.Hendon Hooker, Tennessee – Is Hooker that good or is it Josh Heupel’s system. Hooker passed for 31 TDs in 2021. Year 2 in the new system should reap comparable results. Tennessee should be able to put up a lot of points this fall. Game with the Vols could turn into shoot-outs in 2022 with Hooker under center. The Florida game will be huge for Hooker and Tennessee early in the season. Win that one and look out SEC. Tennessee has been down for a decade, but they will not be down much longer. The SEC is much better when Tennessee is relevant.

Just Missing the Top 5: Spencer Rattler, South Carolina – Rattler will have to make the adjustment to the SEC where much better team defense is played from the Big 12. South Carolina feels like Rattler can get them near the top of the SEC East. The Gamecocks host UGA in September. UGA fans are not laughing because there have been some tough trips to Columbia is last 20 years.

Will Levis, Kentucky – Quietly Levis has become one of the top tier QB’s in the conference. Kentucky is a sleeper team in 2022. He is tough and can use his legs. He makes all the throws needed.

Jaxon Dart, Ole Miss – Dart will be under the guidance of Lane Kiffin. Enough said there. Ole Miss QB’s will put up enormous numbers.

High Tide….Again

By: Buck Blanz news services

As we all know The Alabama Crimson Tide come into almost every season as the favorites to win the SEC Championship in early December and this season is no different.

Coming off a perfect National Championship season, The Crimson Tide come into 2021 with many different shoes to fill as Head Coach Nick Saban goes for his seventh national title with The Crimson Tide.

Saban had his work cut out for him this offseason with the number of holes needed to fill after losing many members of one of the most dynamic offenses College Football has ever seen to the draft.

The Crimson Tide lost three of their starting offensive linemen, best running back, two best wide receivers (Arguably in the nation a season ago), starting tight end, starting quarterback, as well as four coaches on the offensive side of the ball.

However, if anyone has the talent within their roster to be able to hide the talent, they lost its Alabama.

Luckily for The Tide, they have former 5-star Quarterback in high school, Bryce Young to lead the offense. He has high standards after Mac Jones’ perfect season last year.

Young is expected to thrive under center in Tuscaloosa, however the offense is likely to be more dynamic considering young’s style of play.

While Bryce Young has high expectations to live up to, returning wide receiver, John Metchie, must follow in the footsteps of one of the greatest receiving duos ever in DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle.

Metchie, however, had an outstanding season last year as well, racking up 917 receiving yards as well as 6 touchdowns. Alongside Metchie, the Crimson Tide have depth at the receiver position once again with guys like Slade Bolden, Javon Baker and Traeshon Holden. Alabama should have no issue throwing the ball downfield.

Najee Harris is just another player that produced great numbers last season for Alabama, continuing the standard of great running through Tuscaloosa. Taking the reins this season will likely be Brian Williams and while he might not run the ball like Harris, Williams has the size and strength to make it to the next level.

On the defensive side of the ball the Tide will be in good hands with many names to look out for. Among those names to watch out for is the returning second-leading tackler in Christian Harris at linebacker. Harris is just the tip of the iceberg in the Crimson Tide’s linebacker core as they are loaded with depth looking to make some noise.

As for the secondary, all but one starter is returning to the field, and they have a bunch of young talent ready to make plays.

Much like the secondary the defensive line is also returning all their starters except for one and the fanbase in Tuscaloosa is hungry for another Quinnen Williams from 2018.

The toughest tests for the Crimson Tide this season will likely consist of the season opener against Miami (on Sept. 4), at Texas A&M (Oct. 6), and as always, the Iron Bowl to close out the year (Nov. 27).

Nick Saban is always striving for perfection, and seems to achieve it frequently, however this season will provide some new tests for some young guys on offense.

I expect the Tide to finish 11-1 as SEC Champions once again earning a spot in the College Football Playoff.