Given the pedigree of the Alabama Crimson Tide football team, it's hard to believe that it's been 75 years since the last Alabama player to go first overall in the NFL Draft. That streak has come to an end tonight, as quarterback Bryce Young was selected by the Carolina Panthers with the first overall pick in 2023, becoming the first Alabama first overall pick in 75 years. The 5'10", 195 lb. quarterback joins Harry Gilmer, who was selected by Washington in 1948, as the only Crimson Tide players to be picked first overall.
Though the New York Jets selected quarterback and Alabama alum Joe Namath first overall in 1965, they did so in the American Football League draft. The AFL didn't combine drafts with the NFL until two years later.
Young Was Already in A Class of His Own
THE moment. pic.twitter.com/MrOwKr52eT
— Carolina Panthers (@Panthers) April 28, 2023
Bryce Young is no stranger to making history, even for a program as prestigious as Alabama.
An accomplished three-year career at Alabama includes the 2021 Heisman Trophy for Young, who threw for 4,872 yards and 47 touchdowns while compiling a 13-2 record. Young became the first Crimson Tide quarterback to win the Heisman and the fourth Alabama player overall, joining DeVonta Smith (2020), Derrick Henry (2015) and Mark Ingram II (2009).
Young, who was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and grew up in Pasadena, California, owns the Alabama record for most passing yards in a single game (559), set during a 2021 game against Arkansas. That year, in addition to the Heisman, Young won AP Player of the Year, SEC Offensive Player of the Year, and the Davey O'Brien Award, among other accolades.
Now, the overwhelming favorite to be selected first overall heading into the opening round of the draft in Kansas City, has helped Alabama set one more mark as the kings of college football.
Bama Sets First Round Draft Picks Record
Young's selection marks the 15th consecutive NFL draft that Alabama has had a player chosen in the first round, breaking a tie with the Miami Hurricanes (1995-2008) for the most consecutive years with a first-round pick.
It's also the third time in the last four years that an Alabama quarterback has gone in the first round. Mac Jones went 15th overall to the New England Patriots in 2021, and his departure paved the way for Young to ascend to the starting spot. Tua Tagovailoa was taken fifth overall in 2020 by the Miami Dolphins. He was the first Alabama quarterback taken in the first round since 1976 (Richard Todd).
Heisman Trophy, No. 1 Overall Pick, Statistical Record Holder
The one thing that Bryce Young doesn't have on his resume is a national championship.
Young led the Crimson Tide to win as underdogs in the 2021 SEC Championship game against Georgia, but the Bulldogs turned the tables in the College Football Playoff national championship game a few weeks later.
In 2022, Young struggled with a shoulder injury and the loss of his favorite targets from a year earlier, Jameson Williams and John Metchie. He finished sixth in Heisman voting and the Tide missed the playoff, but he ended his college career on a high note with a Sugar Bowl win over Kansas State.
Now he will head less than 400 miles northeast of Tuscaloosa to see if he and the Panthers can break through together and be world champions for the first time.
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