IDL- Byron Young, Alabama (6-3, 292)
While Georgia’s Jalen Carter is certainly a Top 3 prospect in the 2023 NFL Draft, the interior defensive line class as a whole leaves a lot to be desired. Not only is it lacking in depth but there are also not a ton of clearcut Top 75 players in the group. The two best defensive tackles going to Mobile this week are Wisconsin’s Keeanu Benton and Alabama’s Byron Young, both of whom could rise with strong showings.
Unlike Benton though, Young offers a more diverse skill set that lends well to the atmosphere at the Senior Bowl and he should be the most well-rounded interior defensive lineman in terms of impact as a pass rusher and run defender.
A former Top 100 recruit, Young was part of Alabama’s defensive line rotations all four years he spent in Tuscaloosa. This season he was the unsung hero of Alabama’s defense lining up wherever he was needed—that was as an edge rusher as well as at 1T, 3T, 4i, and 5T—on his way to finishing the year with 48 tackles, 5.5 TFLs, and 4 sacks.
With his quickness, he was able to create mismatches inside as a pass rusher while providing a physical and stout edge setter when lined up against offensive tackle. Playing with a scary combo of leverage, lateral agility, and power at the point, Young offers versatility as a run defender at the next level with the ability to be a gap shooter at 3-Tech or a two-gapping 5-Tech.
More importantly, he’s one of the best pass-rushing interior defensive linemen in this class, not only for his athleticism but for what he can do with his hands. He’s got violent/strong hands and a pass rush repertoire to complement them with a nasty club-swim, push-pull, and forklift-rip move. He’s also capable of winning with pure power by frequently getting his hands inside guards.
One-on-one pass rush at the Senior Bowl is perfect for Young to show he’s got one of the best pass rush plans among interior defensive linemen in the class, and he should leave the week as a second-round lock… and perhaps even a late first-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.