According to PFF’s Michael Renner, the Indianapolis Colts will trade up to the first overall pick with the Chicago Bears in order to select prized Alabama quarterback Bryce Young in his latest 2023 NFL Mock Draft:
1. INDIANAPOLIS COLTS: QB BRYCE YOUNG, ALABAMA
via mock trades with Bears
The Chicago Bears are sitting on a golden ticket. With a quarterback talent like Young in this class, the No. 1 overall pick is going to be in high demand. The Colts make too much sense to be the team willing to offer a sweetheart deal to the Bears because a) it would still allow the Bears to be in striking distance for one of the two blue-chip defensive line prospects in the class, and b ) the Colts are desperate for a franchise quarterback after years of one-season rentals at the position.
The listed 6’0”, 194 pound former Heisman Trophy winner for the Crimson Tide completed 245 of 380 pass attempts (64.5%) for 3,328 passing yards, 32 passing touchdowns, and 5 interceptions during 12 starts as a junior in 2022. He also amassed 185 total rushing yards and 4 rushing touchdowns on the ground.
With a diminished receiving corps this season at Alabama, Young is a season removed from throwing for 47 passing touchdowns and winning the Heisman Trophy in 2021.
Young has been highly regarded for his ability to quickly read defenses and process his reads in the pocket, showcasing the ability to act quickly on his feet to make winning plays. He features a solid arm as far as accuracy and arm strength are concerned and can make plays with his unique improvisation and legs under duress. He has great composure and leadership which have helped make him one of the best quarterbacks in college football.
The only real knock on him is his height and build, as while shorter quarterbacks such as Drew Brees, Russell Wilson, and Kyler Murray have had success, the mobile ones of the group, Wilson and Murray, have a much stockier build than Young who’s more slender:
Bryce Young is a complete outlier in terms of size – and I get why that will be an issue for some.
But I’ll bet on his instincts, processing, release, accuracy, intangibles and ability to create vs. pressure. He’s a problem solver. https://t.co/HyKC0T2Vsh
— Dane Brugler (@dpbrugler) December 31, 2022
Bryce Young has been great at football his entire career in the SEC, where the players are very big. I think he will probably be great at football in the NFL, where the players are also very big.
— Bill Barnwell (@billbarnwell) December 31, 2022
The Colts longstanding issues at starting quarterback are well documented. Veteran quarterback Matt Ryan is a strong candidate to be either released or retire this offseason, while fellow veteran Nick Foles could be in the same boat. Meanwhile, young quarterback Sam Ehlinger is ideally suited as a primary backup quarterback—not a starter going forward.
With the 4th overall pick and a clear need at starting quarterback, the Bears and Colts appear to be ideal trading partners—given that Chicago will not have to drop too far down in order to land a premier defensive lineman in this draft class. The Colts can also jump the Houston Texans and select who they believe is the best quarterback in the class (ie, get their guy) without the risk of losing him to a division rival.
Right now, the draft’s consensus top two quarterbacks appear to be Alabama’s Bryce Young and Ohio State’s CJ Stroud—with Kentucky’s Will Levis also in some draft conversations.
From a production, playmaking, and leadership standpoint, despite his smaller build, Young makes a lot of sense for the Colts given his proven track record of success and special ability.