The plight of the black quarterback has never been easy and while that may not change anytime soon, the 2023 NFL Draft showed the world that black quarterbacks are here to stay.
With Bryce Young, C.J. Stroud, and Anthony Richardson flying off the board at No. 1, No. 2, and No. 4, they cemented their stake in NFL history, becoming the only three black quarterbacks drafted in the top five.
It was no surprise that Heisman trophy winner Bryce Young went first overall off the board to the Carolina Panthers. With new head coach Frank Reich coming off a rough stint in Indianapolis and the Panthers searching for an answer at quarterback, it was obvious they would be looking for a long-term solution.
Young set Alabama single-season marks for passing yards and touchdowns in 2021 and finished his career second in those categories in school history despite starting for just two seasons. His 79 touchdown passes were the most in a two-year span in SEC history.
Not long after Young, the Houston Texans selected Ohio State product C.J. Stroud at No. 2 overall. The Texans cited Stroud’s accuracy on downfield throws, ability to drop back deep, and RPO game as reasons they had their eyes on Stroud.
After being selected, an emotional Stroud said “God has battle tested me.” He went on to say he came from nothing and it is a blessing to be drafted.
Although it was clear University of Florida’s Anthony Richardson would be a top pick in the draft, it wasn’t as clear where he would land. Compared to Young and Stroud, Richardson was deemed the quarterback that needs the most work. However, that did not faze the Indianapolis Colts who picked Richardson No. 4 overall.
Since the retirement of Andrew Luck, the Colts have struggled at quarterback. They are hoping Richardson can breathe life back into the franchise.
Only time will tell how these three young men will pan out. But for now their success is a celebration for all the black quarterbacks such as Doug Williams that paved the way for this moment.
The future of the NFL just got brighter.