A year ago, Bryce Young was considered the best quarterback prospect and the best prospect overall in the 2023 NFL Draft after some strong play at the University of Alabama,
Some had concerns about his modest stature, but many agreed he was a better player than C.J. Stroud of Ohio State.
However, Stroud is the one who had a sensational rookie year for the Houston Texans while Young struggled mightily as a member of the Carolina Panthers, who went 2-15.
Yet, Stroud defended Young, saying that he had little help and that he’s still on his way to being a great player, per “The Pivot” via Dov Kleiman.
“When you watch the tape, Bryce did a lot of great things. He’s gonna be a great player, but it takes time,” Stroud said.
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) February 7, 2024
While Stroud threw for 4,108 yards and 23 touchdowns and led Houston to a 10-7 record and a playoff win in the Wild Card round, Young got a rude awakening to pro football.
Young completed less than 60 percent of his pass attempts and threw almost as many interceptions (10) as touchdown passes (11) while posting a meager 73.7 passer rating.
Stroud is already special and appears to have the clutch gene, but not every good or great QB excels right away.
For example, Josh Allen of the Buffalo Bills played poorly in his first two seasons before breaking into the league’s elite during the 2020 campaign.
The Philadelphia Eagles’ Jalen Hurts also had to endure similar struggles in his first two seasons before making the Pro Bowl and leading his team to a Super Bowl appearance last year.
Unfortunately, the Panthers will not have the No. 1 pick in this year’s draft, as they traded it in order to be able to draft Young, so the road to success may continue to be rocky for him for at least a little while.