Bryce Young No Longer Favorite for First Overall Selection

Bryce Young

Getty Images Bryce Young of Alabama.

Former Crimson Tide quarterback Bryce Young has fallen behind Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud as the betting favorite to be chosen with the first overall pick in the NFL draft on April 27.

As of March 15, Stroud now sits at -220, according to FanDuel Sportsbook, with Young at +250 and Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson at +400. If a bettor wagers $100 on Young, they would win $250.

In early January, Young was the favorite at -110, with Stroud at +200.

But then the Chicago Bears shook up the first round by shipping off their first overall selection to the Carolina Panthers, a quarterback-needy team.

“The consensus seems to be that the Panthers like Stroud,” BetMGM’s Christian Cipollini said, according to a March 12 Fox Sports story.

Young’s size (5-foot-10 and one-eighth, 204 pounds) could be a factor in the oddsmakers’ dropping him to No. 2. Stroud, meanwhile, is 6-foot-3 and 218 pounds, just slightly bigger than the average NFL quarterback in 2022.

“C.J. Stroud has the ideal size and can make every throw needed to be successful in the NFL,” wrote Sports Illustrated’s Schuyler Callihan in a story published March 10.

Who Is the New Betting Favorite to Go First Overall?

Stroud, who led the Buckeyes to a 11-2 record and a berth in the College Football Playoff last season. In his two years as starter, he threw for 85 total touchdowns and is fourth in FBS history in passing efficiency.

CJ Stroud at NFL Combine

Getty ImagesFormer Ohio State signal caller C.J. Stroud works out at the NFL Combine.

Panthers head coach Frank Reich is known for utilizing tall pocket passers in his offensive schemes, and Stroud is generally considered the best pocket passer in 2023 draft class. Reich said he knows “we’re going to have to be good from the pocket,” according to Pro Football Talk’s Josh Alper.

However, Peter King of NBS Sports reported on March 13 that Reich “loves” Richardson and that the Panthers are considering pulling the trigger at No. 1 but could be open to trading back and acquiring more draft capital.

Where Will Bryce Young Land in the Draft?

At this point, it seems the most likely scenario for Young retaining his status as the first overall pick would be for a team like the Houston Texans or Indianapolis Colts to trade up to No. 1 and take the former Heisman winner.

Bryce Young at NFL Combine

Getty ImagesBryce Young at the 2023 NFL Combine

Houston has been one of the worst teams in the league for the last few seasons, dating back to 2019 when the Texans traded perennial All-Pro wideout DeAndre Hopkins for pennies on the dollar. Since trading a future Hall of Fame receiver, Houston has won just 11 games in three years and somehow managed just a single first round pick in that span as well.

In this year’s draft, the Texans hold 12 picks, four of which are in the top 100, so a quick turnaround may not be entirely out of the question for Houston. First year head coach DeMeco Ryans is one of the hottest names in the NFL right now, and if Young is the route the Texans take,  they have plenty of picks to surround him with talent.

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