Pros and cons of Raiders picking Alabama football's Byron Young in 2023 NFL Draft

Chase Goodbread
The Tuscaloosa News

Former Alabama defensive lineman Byron Young was selected by the Las Vegas in the fourth round of the 2023 NFL draft with the 70th overall pick.

Young (6-foot-3, 294 pounds) started very game for Alabama last season, piling up 28 tackles, 5.5 of them for losses, including four sacks. The Laurel, Mississippi, native played his career-best game against his home-state school, Ole Miss, with 11 tackles, two sacks, a forced fumble and a pass deflection. Young was a four-year contributor on the Alabama defense, making 139 career stops with 22.5 tackles for loss, and starting five games as early as his freshman year. Young was named AP first-team All-SEC as a senior, and followed that with a solid showing at the Reese's Senior Bowl in January.

At the NFL Scouting Combine, Young turned in a 26-inch vertical jump, a nine-foot broad jump, and benched pressed 24 reps at 225 pounds. He was ranked the 133rd overall prospect in the draft by Pro Football Focus.

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The positives

Young is a stout, run-stuffing defensive end who can hold his own against double-teaming and offer some push as a pass rusher as well. He could also play inside in obvious passing situations, but projects best as a 5-technique end who can set the edge against the run. Young's senior year showed his highest promise as a pass rusher as those four sacks were a career high, as were his 15 QB hurries.

The concerns

Scouting concerns about Young's skillset include a lack of quickness off the snap, which leaves something to be desired. Does he have the athleticism to stay on the field on third downs at the next level? His long-term value in the league depends, in part, on whether he can.

Final thought

There is room for a Byron Young on every NFL roster as a physical presence up front who can play on early downs. NFL stardom isn't likely in his future, as his pass rush skills aren't dynamic, but he can at least shrink the pocket with brute strength.

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