Jeremy Fowler of ESPN reported this week that Tennessee edge rusher Byron Young has made a ton of top-30 pre-draft visits, which included the Buffalo Bills. Up until this week, there had been little reported connecting the Bills with any edge prospect.
Young’s stock has risen precipitously this spring, with most experts projecting he gets drafted on Day 2 or early during Day 3.
Tennessee OLB Byron Young with a ton of pre-draft Top 30 visits: #Seahawks #Jaguars #Cowboys #Cardinals #Broncos #Raiders #Vikings #Bills #Panthers #Giants #Ravens— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) April 18, 2023
.@MelKiperESPN had Young going 45th overall to Green Bay in last week's mock draft.
Young is nearly identical in size to Von Miller, standing 6’2” and weighing 250 pounds (Miller is 6’3” and 249 pounds). If want to try envisioning how Young could be deployed in Buffalo’s defense, perhaps start with watching how they use Miller.
While Young has mountains to climb before being mentioned anywhere near the same zip code as Von Miller, he is an explosive defender who put the world on notice during the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine. At Lucas Oil Stadium, Young ran a 4.43-second 40-yard dash, with a 1.62-second 10-yard split, and 7.19-second 3-cone drill. Young also had a vertical jump of 38”, and broad jump of 11’.
Byron Young’s circuitous path to the 2023 NFL Draft began when he received zero scholarship offers. Young ended up working at his local Dollar General for a year before enrolling and playing for Georgia Military College in 2019. Young’s JUCO performance earned him several offers from SEC schools, ultimately choosing Tennessee. He put together a very productive resume in two campaigns with the Volunteers. For his college career, Young started 21 of 24 games played and made 83 tackles (23.5 tackles for loss), 12.5 sacks, and 22 quarterback pressures
Young has made the absolute most of every opportunity along the way. In his short stint with the Volunteers, he became a decorated defender. The 2022 season was especially fruitful for Young, with him earning All-SEC First Team (Coaches) and All-SEC Second Team (Associated Press), in addition to multiple weekly defensive awards last season.
Certainly, there are concerns about how raw a prospect Young is as he enters the draft — and that means he has his fair share of flaws. But with such a strong character, Young could become a very impressive NFL pass rusher with the right coaching.
Does Byron Young fit the Bills? Despite still being fairly green as an edge rusher and 25 years old, Young has produced in spades for every program where he’s suited up to play. Yes, Von Miller isn’t going anyway unless he retires, but he is 34 and coming off his second significant ACL injury. Buffalo needs to continue bringing in edge rushers who fit the mold they desire. To this point, it’s fair to question the moves made along the defensive line — where significant investments through draft picks and free-agent dollars are almost obsessively pumped into the position. Byron Young has a special feel about him, however. He seems to thrive on adversity and puts his entire self into playing lights out every snap. Young, who has truly elite intangibles, is a player perfect for a mentorship under the guidance of NFL greats.