5 critical Carolina Panthers observations entering the 2023 NFL Draft

Scott Fitterer
Scott Fitterer / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
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Carolina Panthers
Bryce Young / Gary Cosby Jr. / USA TODAY NETWORK

Bryce Young seems to be likely Carolina Panthers pick at No. 1

I want to make something clear: this is not a report on my end whatsoever. I have no sources to confirm this. However, with how the mood has shifted in the last week, it feels like Bryce Young is the Carolina Panthers' selection at No. 1 overall.

That doesn't mean Young will be the pick. The Panthers are hosting C.J. Stroud and Kentucky's Will Levis for top 30 visits next Tuesday. The pendulum could easily swing back to the Ohio State product if things go well, though Carolina is still likely organizing their draft board as we speak, and likely won't have completed until they finish hosting their scheduled visits.

As of right now, I have no preference for who I think Carolina should take at No. 1. Young is the best quarterback, Stroud might fit the structure of the offense better, and Anthony Richardson would be the gamble that would shock the NFL world.

If Young is the pick, size will remain among his biggest concerns entering the NFL. He is undoubtedly an outlier at 5-foot-10 and 204 pounds, though the worries around getting hit and suffering upper or lower-body injuries at the next level are nothing more than hypotheticals that have become overblown to an extent.

Young has tremendous feel and instincts within and outside the structure of the pocket. He can throw the ball from different angles, offers a quick release and enough velocity to get the ball to his target after getting hit, and has the twitchiness to avoid sacks within the pocket.

I think Young will be just fine at the next level. Should he be the No. 1 overall pick, he would be going to arguably the best situation for any rookie quarterback in this draft outside of the Seattle Seahawks. The Panthers have one of the best put-together coaching teams in football to go along with a steady offensive line and plenty of adequate weapons to allow for a young signal-caller (no pun intended) to succeed early in their career.

No Panthers fan should be upset if their team selects one of the three potential candidates. The fact of the matter is that the franchise they love dearly will be selecting a quarterback they believe is the future of the franchise. That alone should give a sense of hope and optimism to a fanbase that hasn't had much of it during the Matt Rhule era.

We're less than two weeks away from one of the most consequential draft selections in franchise history. Buckle up!

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