A pair of Heisman Trophy winners put on impressive exhibitions for NFL scouts this week. Both were from SEC schools in Alabama, but their trophy-winning seasons were separated by 11 years.
Bryce Young, who won the 2021 Heisman Trophy as a true sophomore before coming back as a 2022 junior, took to the field in Tuscaloosa in front of packed house of NFL scouts and NFL media on Thursday.
Two days earlier in Auburn, the 2010 Heisman winner, Cam Newton, joined the draft-eligible 2022 Tigers to show NFL teams he still has what it takes to be an impact player in the league.
Young did not throw at the 2023 NFL combine, choosing to wait until Alabama’s Pro Day. The wait was worth it, by all accounts.
The sixth-place finisher in the 2022 Heisman voting threw 50 passes during a scripted workout and completed 88% of his attempts, which included a few drops by his Crimson Tide pass-catching corps.
Review were glowing among many NFL analysts and media.
Said former NFL great wide receiver Steve Smith on the NFL Network: “He processes at another level. He’s not a guy you wanna pass up.” Click here for the full clip.
Said ESPN SEC analyst Peter Burns: “In a league in which if you look at a QB sideways, they will throw a flag, there is no doubt that Bryce Young should be the 1st pick of the draft. Anyone who over thinks Bryce Young as QB1 deserves what’s coming to them. A leader on and off the field. Franchise maker.” Full tweet here.
Said Young to the NFL Network after his workout: “I was happy just to be out there throwing to my guys again. This is a special process. Just me being able to have this opportunity is something I definitely don’t take for granted. I’m grateful for everyone who came and everyone who watched. I’m happy to have performed.”
Newton, 33, did not play in the NFL during the 2022 season after 11 years in the league, 10 of which (2011-2019, 2021) came in Carolina with 2020 spent in New England.
He has 32,382 career yards passing with 194 touchdown passes and 123 interceptions. His career totals of 5,628 rushing yards and 75 rushing scores are the most by a QB in NFL history. The 2011 No. 1 pick is a three-time Pro Bowler with one MVP season in his portfolio that has spanned 148 career games.
He completed 28-of-34 passes to brothers Caylin Newton and Shedrick Jackson during his workout.
Said Caylin: “This was him showing love to me. He doesn’t owe anybody anything. He has had an amazing journey, an amazing career in the NFL. He has nothing to prove to anybody. He came to show his ability, show he still has it.
“I think, for him, this was a selfless act. But it was also to show and prove to everybody he’s not sitting around. He’s still got it. Whatever organization wants to get a winning quarterback, his number’s still open and available.”
This CBS Sports story suggests a few possible landing spots for Newton.