Ever since the Carolina Panthers swung a huge trade to Chicago for the first overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, there’s been a bit of a quarterback controversy. The decision basically boiled down to the top two prospects at the position: Ohio State signal-caller C.J. Stroud and Alabama passer Bryce Young.
There had been some questions regarding both players. However, according to reports, it appears that the Panthers are prepared to take Young with the top pick in 2023.
NFL analyst Peter King once believed that Stroud was going to be the clear-cut choice for Carolina, he’s now shifted gears. The longtime journalist now believes that the Alabama junior will be fitted for a light blue jersey when things kick off on April 27.
“The momentum toward Young is real,” King wrote at SI.com, and his enthusiasm for Young was echoed by his colleague at Sports Illustrated, Albert Breer.
Breer wrote that Young “acquitted himself incredibly well” when meeting with coach Frank Reich. Breer also notes that Young “did really well” on the s2 – a cognitive test aimed at measuring processing speeds for quarterbacks.
If the measurables are there, and the vibe is right, then there’s no doubt that Young’s resume should be good enough to earn him that spot. Over the course of two seasons, he dominated the SEC.
As the 2021 Heisman Trophy winner, Bryce Young threw for 4,872 yards, 47 passing touchdowns, and seven interceptions to go along with three rushing touchdowns in his sophomore year. He finished his college career with a 23-4 record as a starting QB. Young also holds the Alabama record for most passing yards in a single game.
Despite Bryce Young’s terrific play as a member of The Crimson Tide, his size (5’10”, 195 pounds) had many scouts questioning if he would be effective in the NFL. It’s caused other QBs to drop in the draft in the past. However, in recent years, a new generation of stars like Kyler Murray and Russell Wilson, have broken that stereotype.
Peter King says that an unnamed coach laid out the concerns surrounding Young’s size.
“Alabama’s line was superior, and Young consistently had enough time to throw,” the coach said. “Taking away nothing from him, because he made the throws and made the plays to be great. But the offensive line for him will be crucial. Think of the defensive coordinators he’ll face, and how much they’ll emphasize putting good hits on him. I don’t see how that’s not a big factor when you put a grade on him.”
That might not matter much to the Panthers, who appear poised to build a contender around whoever they install as the signal-caller. They pursued some prime free agents, but have been unable to sign a veteran starter. Although there was some discussion the team might try to trade for Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson, it’s now apparent they will seek answers in a rookie quarterback.
Carolina (7-10) has been aggressive this offseason, as they look to take advantage of a weak NFC South Division. They packaged their first and second-round picks in the 2023 NFL Draft (9th and 61st overall), along with their 2024 first-round pick, 2025 second-rounder, and wide receiver D.J. Moore to make the deal with Chicago to acquire the first-overall selection.