The Carolina Panthers boast a new face of the franchise.
The Panthers selected Alabama quarterback Bryce Young with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft in Kansas City, Missouri on Thursday night.
Debate surrounding Carolina's pick had quieted in the weeks since the club brass ended its visits tour with the top quarterbacks in the class. While the team had not publicly indicated its plans at No. 1 in the days before Round 1, head coach Frank Reich told reporters on Tuesday the Panthers had come to a consensus with their selection. Young was that consensus.
The Panthers are getting a winner with dynamic playmaking ability, something the club has sought since 2019, when Cam Newton's first run with the club came to an end.
A two-year starter at Alabama, Young put up dizzying numbers as a college signal-caller, generating 8,200 passing yards and 79 TDs with 12 INTs in 27 games with the Crimson Tide from 2021 to 2022.
During his 2021 Heisman Trophy campaign, Young set Alabama single-season records with 4,872 passing yards and 47 passing TDs. He won the Davey O'Brien and Manning Awards as the nation's top QB and was named a first-team All-American and SEC Offensive Player of the Year.
Young brings sizzling passing ability to Charlotte, North Carolina. A quick processor with the smarts and vision to beat defenses before the snap, he boasts stellar pocket presence, an innate ability to avoid the rush and magic playmaking when things break down.
A pristine passer with marvelous accuracy both in and out of the pocket, Young is a pinpoint thrower to all three levels and works through his progression quickly. He might not have the biggest cannon, but his passes are plenty potent, and the signal-caller's ability to anticipate makes up for any lack of velocity. Young owns dual-threat ability, but he always keeps his eyes downfield, looking to make plays with his arm.
The biggest knock on Young is his size at 5-foot-10 and 204 pounds. Carolina general manager Scott Fitterer previously noted he's not very concerned about the QB's height and added that Young could gain bulk at the NFL level. If he stays healthy, Young brings tide-changing upside to the organization.
The Panthers traded for the No. 1 overall choice, moving up from No. 9, by giving Chicago a host of draft selections and star receiver D.J. Moore to get their top choice of quarterbacks. Young is their guy.
Over the past three seasons, Carolina has cycled through quarterbacks Teddy Bridgewater, P.J. Walker, Sam Darnold, Cam Newton (again) and Baker Mayfield. All proved faulty, with last offseason’s trade for Mayfield highlighting the inability of the previous coaching staff to coax quality play from the position.
With Reich taking over this offseason, Carolina will usher in a new era with a new quarterback.
A proven leader on and off the field, Young helms a rebuilt offense with a solid line. Carolina added running back Miles Sanders and veteran receivers Adam Thielen and D.J. Chark in free agency to help buoy their young quarterback. The Panthers also inked veteran quarterback Andy Dalton, who should help mentor Young early in his career.
Carolina has five more draft picks this weekend to upgrade the offense, particularly at receiver, and add pieces to a solid defense.
After years of uncertainty, the Panthers finally found their quarterback for the present and future.