Projecting Heisman finalists as NFL draft prospects: Are Young and Stroud the top 2023 QBs?

The stage for the 87th Heisman Trophy is set. The four finalists for the best player in college football include Pittsburgh quarterback Kenny Pickett, Michigan defensive end Aidan Hutchinson, Alabama quarterback Bryce Young and Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud.

Pickett has put together one-year leap reminiscent of Joe Burrow, who won the award in 2019. Hutchinson took the nation by storm in a heroic three-sack performance against arch rival Ohio State and has 14 sacks for the season. Young is coming off a four-touchdown day in an upset over Georgia, which catapulted the Crimson Tide to No. 1. And Stroud has the best QBR in the country and has engineered one of the most explosive offenses in the country.

But how do all four project as NFL prospects? That’s what I’ll get into today. Hutchinson was just moved up to the top of the boards from ESPN NFL draft analysts Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay, but the three quarterbacks are interesting evaluations, especially with Young and Stroud a year away from being eligible for the draft.

Let’s get into the pros and question marks for each of the finalists, and then I’ll tell you where they’re likely to be drafted based on the tape we’ve seen so far. I’ll start with the two 2023 prospects, since you might not know just yet what makes them so good:


Bryce Young, QB, Alabama

2021 stats: 4,322 passing yards (4th in FBS), 43 TDs, 4 INTs
Heisman odds, via Caesars Sportsbook: -4000

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