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Mel Kiper Jr. Projects Colts to Select QB Bryce Young at #4 in 2023 NFL Mock Draft 1.0

The Colts come away with their franchise quarterback early in the 2023 NFL Draft—and without having to trade up.

Allstate Sugar Bowl - Alabama v Kansas State Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images

According to ESPN Draft Expert Mel Kiper Jr. (subscription), the Indianapolis Colts will select Alabama quarterback Bryce Young with the 4th overall pick of the 2023 NFL Draft in his recent Mock Draft 1.0:

4. Indianapolis Colts

Bryce Young, QB, Alabama

The trades for Carson Wentz and Matt Ryan in back-to-back offseasons didn’t work out for general manager Chris Ballard, and now the Colts are starting over — again — at quarterback. Don’t they have to draft a signal-caller here (if they don’t trade up to get their preferred guy)? They have some intriguing talent on their roster, but as we’ve seen time and time again in the NFL, nothing else matters if they don’t have their quarterback.

There’s a clear gap after the top three passers in this class, and the Colts don’t necessarily have to trade up to get one of them. In this scenario, they could take Young, a quick processor with an elite feel for the pocket and how to move around and locate his target. The 2021 Heisman Trophy winner doesn’t have a big frame, which some NFL scouts will downgrade him for because there aren’t many starting quarterbacks under 200 pounds. I love his tape, though, and I’d be willing to bet on his talent. Spread out the offense and watch him throw darts to Michael Pittman Jr. and Alec Pierce.

The listed 6’0”, 194 pound junior quarterback completed 245 of 380 pass attempts (64.5%) for 3,328 passing yards, 32 passing touchdowns, and 5 interceptions during 12 starts in 2022. He also amassed 185 total rushing yards and 4 rushing touchdowns on the ground.

While he had a diminished receiving corps this past year at Alabama, Young is just a season removed from throwing for 47 passing touchdowns and winning the illustrious Heisman Trophy.

With the one main criticism being his smaller stature for an NFL quarterback, Young is reportedly enlisting the help of a nutritionist to ‘bulk up’ to 210 pounds ahead of the NFL Draft to showcase upgraded size and durability:

Otherwise, Young has been highly regarded for his accuracy, processing, and quick decision-making while under duress—with the ability to also make plays with his feet.

Other than the knock on his smaller size, Young is exactly what you want at starting quarterback in the modern day NFL.

There are some that think Young’s size will take him off Colts general manager Chris Ballard’s big board, who has certain physical measurement requirements for each position.

That being said, the Colts were speculated to be a potential interested trade suitor for the Arizona Cardinals Kyler Murray last offseason, and let’s not forget that Ballard’s mentor, John Dorsey, once selected Baker Mayfield (6’1”, 215 pounds) with the first overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft then as the former GM of the Cleveland Browns.

The Colts selecting Young can’t be completely ruled out at this juncture, and with the 4th overall pick (*and without having to trade up), they’d be very fortunate to land him.