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Byron Young puts up big numbers at NFL Combine

NFL: Combine Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

It doesn’t take a trained eye to see the appeal of Byron Young. The former JUCO product has everything you want in an edge prospect — a 6-3 frame, 250 pounds and some elite athleticism. That athletic ability was on display on Thursday in Indianapolis.

Young opened plenty of eyes at the NFL Combine, posting an eye-popping 4.43 in the 40 yard dash. That time was good enough to put him third overall out of all linebackers, trailing Georgia’s Nolan Smith and Auburn’s Owen Pappoe.

The 40 yard dash isn’t particularly telling, but going 4.43 at 250 pounds is pretty impressive. Young backed that up with a 38 inch vertical, good for third overall among linebackers. Young led all linebackers in the broad jump, which is a telling indicator of explosiveness.

Young hasn’t received too much draft buzz to this point, however, Mel Kiper Jr. did mock him in the first round back in January.

“Young, another prospect who will be at the Senior Bowl, is intriguing,” Kiper said several weeks ago. “At 6-3, 245 pounds, he fits the mold of what Carroll wants from a front-seven defender, and he has some pass-rush upside. He had seven sacks and 13.5 tackles for loss in 2022, showing off advanced moves.”

That projection looks pretty sharp now, following a big day in Indianapolis. Young doesn’t have the greatest production, but NFL teams bet on traits with edge prospects, and Young isn’t lacking in that category.

The All-SEC first-team selection finished his year strong against Clemson in the Orange Bowl, a game that he could have opted out of. Instead, Young put together four quarters of impressive tape, some of the best of his career. Young got home to sack Cade Klubnik twice, helping to power a dominant defensive performance to beat the Tigers 31-14.

To this point, Young has been projected to go on day two. However, you’ll probably see some more round one talk following the Combine.