How early in the draft that time comes is the biggest question that remains for the quarterback out of Alabama. Joining NFL Total Access on Thursday, Young admitted he was "anxious" to learn where he will begin his pro career, but is "excited more than anything" for April 27 as he embraces the process of being a highly touted prospect.
"Regardless of where I go or where my name is called, I think it will be a blessing," Young told NFL Network's MJ Acosta-Ruiz. "I will go wherever I'm supposed to. For me, I'm big on trying to focus on what I can control and for me trying to present myself in the best light to every team that has taken the time and the opportunity to talk to me, which I'm super grateful for. And wanting to do everything I can in this process to be ready, so that when that time comes and my name is called I'm able to go to work; I'm able to give my all to a franchise. So, really, that's all I've been concerned about."
Young tops NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah's latest top 50 draft prospect rankings, and being a potential franchise QB has the 21-year-old projected as the No. 1 overall pick in the majority of NFL.com's mock drafts.
Having traded for that coveted No. 1 overall selection and in need of that elusive franchise quarterback, the Carolina Panthers have done their due diligence with this year's crop of QBs, hosting Young, Ohio State's C.J. Stroud, Florida's Anthony Richardson and Kentucky's Will Levis on pre-draft visits.
The Panthers were just one of two teams (Houston Texans) Young formally met with before cancelling his remaining pre-draft visits this past week. His decision to forgo any meetings with teams outside the top two picks is stoking the speculation of him being the first to hug Goodell on draft night.
"It was a lot of getting to know each other," Young recalled of his meeting with Carolina, which included Panthers owner David Tepper. "I really do appreciate the dedication to everything. With Mr. Tepper, him being so involved, that just shows how much he cares about the team and you can tell that that radiates through the entire coaching staff. They're extremely invested in everything. I've been able to talk to them and they have a very clear plan of what they want for the future and what they've been building, and they've been doing that for a while now. Just being able to sit with him and everyone else that was a part of the dinner, it was just a great opportunity for me and a great experience. Even personally, I learned a lot from just hearing from their philosophies on and off the field. So it was a great experience for me."
Young, who was awarded the 2021 Heisman Trophy as a true sophomore, led the Crimson Tide to a 23-4 record, throwing for 8,200 passing yards with 79 touchdowns to just 12 interceptions in two seasons as Alabama's staring QB (27 starts). Listed at 5-foot-10, 204 pounds, Young's size is the prevailing question as teams go through every detail before making a selection.
Young has kept a positive attitude on the inevitable subject, maintaining that he can "only focus on what I can control" during the process.
"I have enough experience getting asked the question," Young said. "I'm used to it. I know who I am, I know what I can do. It's not something that's new for me at all. I've been this size, relative to everyone around me, for as long as I've been playing football and I don't know any other way. So, I get it, I understand. Everyone's entitled to their opinions and it's OK. I don't have any issue of being asked or talking about it, but I know what I'm capable of."
As for the pressures that will come with being a top pick, Young feels well-equipped given his experience in high-profile games at Alabama and as a perennial contender in California's competitive high school football landscape. Young completed his collegiate career on a high note despite not getting Alabama back to the College Football Playoff National Championship in consecutive seasons in 2022, completing 15 of 21 passes for 321 yards and five touchdowns in the 2022 Sugar Bowl.
Young's final performance in college was a near-perfect example of his poise in the pocket and his accuracy throwing the football, and he feels ready to continue that in the pro ranks come April 27.
"I feel like that's something that I've experienced before in different levels throughout my life," Young said of the pressure. "For me, I want to do everything I can to be the best version of myself, and collaborate with the people who I am working with. With coaches, with players and doing everything I can to take their input and their advice. Those are the people's standards that I want to live up to.
"Whatever the expectations are, I can't control that. All I can control is how hard I work, what I put into my day to day, trying to do everything I can to try to achieve my goals and the team's goals."