NFL Mock Draft: Indianapolis Colts select Alabama QB Bryce Young
Yahoo Sports' Charles McDonald and Jori Epstein discuss one of the picks in Charles' latest 2023 NFL mock draft: Alabama QB Bryce Young to the Indianapolis Colts. Charles and Jori discuss the potential fit, what a Bryce Young-led offense could look like in year one under new head coach Shane Steichen and what the Colts could accomplish over the next few years if Young plays to his potential.
CHARLES MCDONALD: So I have the Colt picking Bryce Young at fourth overall. And I kind of think that this Colts situation is salvageable. I still don't even think that they really need to fire Frank Reich, but they did. I think they got a worthy replacement in Shane Steichen, but let's say they take Brice Young at four. When I look at this roster, there's a chance that you can get things turned back in the right direction where, I don't know, could you win the division, is that possible?
They had a good defense last year. The offensive line has guys that we know are good, but they had a down season last year, and Jonathan Taylor is still there. I don't know, am I crazy for thinking the Colts can make the playoffs if Bryce Young is as good as Bryce Young was at Alabama?
JORI EPSTEIN: Give them a few games at the beginning. Who do you think's going to be starting day one for them, a rookie quarterback?
CHARLES MCDONALD: Maybe. I mean, what we have to figure out, I guess, who else is-- who else they would be trying to get in free agency, but right now it doesn't seem like they're in on the Aaron Rodgers or the Derek Carr game. And I think Jim Irsay said that before they hired--
JORI EPSTEIN: We need a young quarterback?
CHARLES MCDONALD: Yeah, before they hired the Steichen.
JORI EPSTEIN: Please be quiet so we have, like, 5% of our leverage remaining.
CHARLES MCDONALD: And obviously, the Bears have the number one pick. He has made comments about wanting a young quarterback. So I think it's safe to assume the Colts are going to try to trade up to number one, if Jim Irsay's lack of tact is any indication here. I just think my optimism towards the Colts is more just like, I've seen a lot of the players that they have on their roster be good at the NFL before.
They were not last year. Can they be good again? Like, I'm-- my bet here is on Quenton Nelson, Jonathan Taylor, and Darius Leonard returning to form. I don't think that's such a crazy bet.
JORI EPSTEIN: And even if it wasn't Frank Reich, like, the Cowboys keep talking right now about, hey, with Kellen Moore going off to the Chargers and Mike McCarthy calling plays, like, sometimes you just need a new voice. Like, Dak threw 15 interceptions, blah, blah, blah. There could be something said that, like, for whatever reason, something was in the water in Indianapolis last year and the Colts just had guys who had played at a really high level for several years not playing at that level. Maybe a fresh start is what they need.
And if that's the case, I'd rather give a fresh start to really talented players than a fresh start to unproven quantities because then you at least know what's there and you know what can work with. And I think that Shane Steichen has experience now in Philadelphia really being like, how do I get these guys to maximize what they're capable of doing.
CHARLES MCDONALD: Yeah, and I think with Bryce Young, it's not like you would want him running the ball a whole lot because as talented as he is, he still is going to be one of the smaller quarterbacks that's ever drafted in the first round. But like, on the nerdy football point, you think about Drew Brees when he was with the Saints, and one thing that they always made work was Drew Brees, like Bryce Young, shorter quarterback, I would imagine Bryce, if Bryce Young hits 5'10" this week at the Combine, that's probably a pretty good measurement for him.
But when you go back to those Saints teams that Drew kind of played and excelled on, they always tried to make sure to have a strong interior line because literally like what you're trying to do is use your guard and your center, and however you're going to point them in pass protection, to literally just move people out of the way to create passing lanes. Right, so your smaller quarterback can see down the field, and then that kind of negates, like, some of the height stuff.
If you're going to be the Colts, like, two out of three spots, you already had a strong spot with Quenton Nelson at left guard, Ryan Kelly at center. Both of them had a down year last year, but we both know that they're really quality NFL players. And Quenton Nelson at his best is like a Hall of Fame talent.
So I think, like, from a fit to what's already their perspective, I like the idea of Bryce Young being on the Colts. And you know, I don't see why he couldn't run a passing game similar to what Jalen Hurts was doing, at least during his first year.