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Competition has brought the best out of Byron Young, coming from an SEC powerhouse to the Raiders

The best ability is availability.

Alabama's defensive tackle Byron Young has certainly been available in big moments throughout his collegiate career. He played in 54 consecutive games through four seasons, developing into a contributing starter as an upperclassman.

Within the loaded Alabama defenses Young had to play in, snaps were hard to come by. Staying patient and competitive throughout the process molded him into the leader interior presence the Raiders hope to see out of their No. 70 pick.

"I was able to play a lot of football. I played in every game while I was at Alabama," Young said in his introductory conference call Friday. "That's something I took pride in. There were games where I had little nicks and bruises that I could've sat out for, and probably shouldn't have played, but for me, I'm a guy that loves playing football. I'm going to go out whether I'm hurt, whether I'm 100 percent or if I'm sick.

"If I feel I can go help the team, then I'm going to go out there and play."

Being around the likes of 2023 draftmates Will Anderson Jr. and Brian Branch, as well as current NFL players Christian Barmore, Phidarian Mathis and Patrick Surtain II, helped Young step his game up. In his last two seasons at Alabama, he compiled 38 solo tackles, 13 tackles for loss and six sacks.

"They helped me grow and I was able to watch those guys and how they led, and that really helped me in my leadership role," said Young. "It helped me off the field just seeing how they carried themselves. Being around Alabama and all the players that come to Alabama, it was just a great experience.

"Every day in practice it was a competition. if you didn't come out to practice and practice the right way, you get left behind. It created a great atmosphere. A lot of times the practices were harder than the games, just because you were going up against such great players."

Young had the unique experience of becoming acquainted with the Raiders coaching staff at the Reese's Senior Bowl, primarily working with Matt Edwards who served as the American Team's defensive line coach. Young said he loved working with Edwards in Mobile, Alabama, and is enthusiastic to arrive to the desert to meet the rest of his coaches and teammates.

"I would love it if I can go in and just really help improve the culture and continue to go in there and impact everybody in a positive way," said Young. "Like you said, I think they will be getting a great player, but also a current player who can transition into becoming a leader because they already have a line of great guys on the team like Chandler Jones, Maxx Crosby, they drafted Tyree [Wilson] earlier. It's going to be a deep group of guys up there.

"But I just want to come in and I want to impact it right away and I just want to give them everything I can."

With the 70th overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, the Las Vegas Raiders selected defensive tackle Byron Young.

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