2023 NFL Draft

2023 NFL Draft Player Profiles: Alabama DL Byron Young

From now until the 2023 NFL Draft takes place, we hope to scout and create profiles for as many prospects as possible, examining their strengths, weaknesses, and what they can bring to an NFL franchise. These players could be potential top 10 picks, all the way down to Day 3 selections and priority undrafted free agents Today, I’ll be profiling Alabama DL Byron Young.

#47 Byron Young, DL, Alabama (Senior) – 6030, 294lb

Senior Bowl/Combine Invite


Player Ht/Wt Hand Size Arm Length Wingspan
Byron Young 6’3, 294lb 11 34 3/8 N/A
40-Yard Dash 10-Yard Dash Short Shuttle 3-Cone
N/A N/A N/A 7.68
Broad Jump Vertical Bench Press
9’0” 26.0 24

The Good

— Has average size and height for the position with great arm length
— Played up and down the DL from the nose tackle to outside shade of the OT
— Has the play strength to push the pocket and to work off blocks
— Possesses a long arm to walk back blockers into the lap of the QB
— Will grab blocker’s hands and yank them off his frame to shed the block
— Executes on twists and stunts upfront to work through gaps into the pocket
— Wins with the swim/arm over move on the guard to clear blocks into the backfield
— Can rip through blocks quickly after the snap to get penetration
— does well as a gap penetrator to knife through the OL into the pocket
— Plays with a high motor whether in run defense or rushing the passer
— Does a good job getting his hands up into passing lanes
— Four-year contributor that has improved every season in Tuscaloosa

The Bad

— Doesn’t have the ideal size and height you desire
— Limited athlete with average play speed and explosiveness for the position
— Doesn’t consistent push the pocket and win with power
— Base can get too narrow, leading to him getting caught off-balance
— Will pop up out of his stance, taking away his power to win the rep
— Can do a better job working off blocks once engaged with an OL


— Senior Prospect from Laurel, Miss.
— Former four-star recruit and top 15 DL prospect in the 2019 recruiting class
— Totaled 125 tackles with 29.5 for loss and 17.5 sacks in 15 games of action as a high school senior
— Selected to the 2019 All-American Bowl
— Earned time in 13 games, including five starts as a true freshman and recorded 23 tackles with 1.5 TFL, a sack, a QB pressure, and a PBU
— Started nine games in 2020 and registered 29 tackles, 6.5 TFLs, a sack, and a fumble recovery
— Played in all 15 games with seven starts in 2021 and totaled 39 tackles, nine TFLs, and two sacks
— Started all 13 games in 2022 and totaled 48 tackles, 5.5 for loss, and four sacks, six quarterback pressures, two pass breakups, and a forced fumble
— First team All-SEC (2022)

Tape Breakdown

Byron Young is the latest Alabama defensive lineman to make his transition from Tuscaloosa to the pros. Being more of a rotational player for his first couple of seasons, Young stepped into more of a prominent role after Phidarian Mathis went onto the league, becoming that next Bama DL to see his play notably improve as a senior in his final season.

While standing 6’3, 294lb, Young plays with a lot of effort in pursuit of the football, having the motor to play chase from sideline to sideline. Watch on this rep where Young gets off the block and runs down the RB on the quick pitch to the right, meeting his teammate #10 Henry To’oTo’o at the ballcarrier for a hit that knocks the ball out, giving Bama a chance to score before the half.

Young does a good job knifing his way through the OL to get penetration into the backfield against the run as well as a pass rusher. Watch this play against Auburn where Young shoots the gap across the LG’s face into the backfield, wrapping up the runner for a loss of yards on third and short. In the same game, Young does the same to the RT on second down, working through the block as he crosses the blocker’s face and makes a big tackle in the backfield for a loss.

Byron Young has become quite the pass rusher for the Crimson Tide over the course of his four years at Alabama, adding more tools to his toolbox each season. Back in 2021, we saw flashes of that pass rush potential which took another step this past season. Watch this clip from 2021 of Young gets hands on the center, then rips through the block into the backfield and pressures the QB to throw the pass early over the middle of the field, missing his intended target.

We see Young’s hustle as a pass rusher and the benefit of his long arm on this rep against LSU this past season where Young lines up inside shade of the RT and rushes outside on the snap. He sticks the tackle with a long arm right at his chest, then takes his left hand to the tackle’s arm as he rips through and knocks the blocker’s arms down. Young clears the block and gets into the backfield for the QB sack.

Byron Young had his best game of the season against Ole Miss where he flashed his ability as a pass rusher at the next level. Watch this two plays sequence where on the first play, we see Young long arm the center at the LOS on the snap then swim over his right shoulder into the pocket to take down the QB who attempts to get away. The very next play, Young walks back the LG as the pocket collapses getting off the block in-time to bring down Dart for the key sack to take the Rebels to fourth-and-long.

Even when Byron Young doesn’t get home as a pass rusher, he still can make an impact by getting his hands up in passing lanes. Young is very cognizant of trying to bat down passes if the rush can’t get there in time and has some notable success batting down ball at the LOS. Young gets two separate batted passes against Ole Miss this season, keeping his eyes on the QB and gets a hand on the ball to force the incomplete pass.

Still, Byron Young isn’t without his deficiencies as a defender. He isn’t a high-level athlete at the position in terms of speed and raw strength and tends to play high and upright at times after the snap. He also needs to play with a more consistent base to hold his own against the run and prevent from getting toppled over like in this clip where Young gets into the backfield but is unable to work laterally to the runner and trips to the ground when he loses his balance.


Overall, Byron Young is an experienced, battle-tested defensive lineman that has shown solid improvement every season in college. He brings some pass rush chops to the table as a interior defensive lineman, utilizing the long arm, rip, swim, and straight bull rush to win against offensive linemen. He plays with great effort, and while he is limited athletically compared to other notable DL in this class, he appears to be a player that should be in the mix to contribute sooner rather than later for an NFL team.

When looking for a pro comp for Byron Young, Carlos Watkins of the Dallas Cowboys comes to mind as an accurate comparison. Watkins has near identical measurables to Young (6’3, 305lb, 34 5/8” arms) and hailed from another powerhouse school at Clemson. Watkins proved to be a reliable defender that didn’t have the same athleticism like Dexter Lawrence or Christian Wilkins had at the same school, but still managed to rack up 14 sacks during his time with the Tigers and has become a great rotational depth piece in Dallas after getting drafted in the fourth round back in 2017.

I expect Young to go in a similar range this year, profiling as a possible starter upfront as a 3-4 DE or 4-3 DT but would be better suited to rotate in and out to keep him fresh and effective as a pass rusher and run defender. The Steelers need depth and talent on the defensive line and Young could be a name they target in the middle rounds in the draft after having a formal meeting with him at the NFL Combine.

Projection: Late Day Two/Day Three
Depot Draft Grade: 7.6 – Potential Starter/Good Backup (3rd Round)
Games Watched: at Ole Miss (2022), at LSU (2022), at Auburn (2021)

Previous 2023 NFL Draft Player Profiles
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WR Jordan Addison DL Siaki Ika DL Keeanu Benton CB Kelee Ringo
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LB Drew Sanders iOL Jarrett Patterson OG Nick Broeker OT Broderick Jones
WR Tank Dell iOL John Michael Schmitz CB Devon Witherspoon OT Paris Johnson Jr
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WR Rakim Jarrett EDGE Will Anderson DT Jaquelin Roy RB Tyjae Spears
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WR Jadon Haselwood EDGE Felix Anudike-Uzomah CB Darius Rush LB Mohamoud Diabate
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S Jammie Robinson EDGE Andre Carter C Joe Tippmann QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson
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