An unnamed AFC personnel executive painted a concerning vision for Carolina Panthers quarterback Bryce Young when discussing Frank Reich's chhances in 2023.
We all know what the big question mark is surrounding Bryce Young. It didn't seem to bother the Carolina Panthers throughout their pre-draft assessments and is unlikely to change their train of thought from a schematic standpoint heading into his rookie campaign, either.
Young was always the guy they had in mind when striking their daring trade to No. 1 overall in the 2023 NFL Draft. His supreme football intelligence, elite processing, and overall talent level between the white lines did nothing to alter perceptions despite an exhausting evaluation process.
The impression Young left throughout early offseason workouts is largely positive. He's making the most of every rep, immersing himself in the playbook, and improving chemistry with his primary pass-catchers for good measure.
It's not hard to see why Young's been so beloved throughout his playing career to date. He's put on a throwing masterclass at times during OTAs, although there are some areas that need obvious work before he's ready to take the reins in Week 1 at the Atlanta Falcons.
AFC executive's grave concerns about Carolina Panthers QB Bryce Young
Yes, he's small and slender. That's why he's an outlier and someone that can provide hope for others with similar height deficiencies compared to the more prototypical NFL quarterbacks.
The whole size issue is becoming tiresome for fans, in all honesty. Young is taking the questions in good humor - which is in keeping with the exceptional way he conducts himself - but he must be particularly eager to let his football do the talking.
However, the questions and concerns don't seem to be going away anytime soon. When discussing Frank Reich's ability to bring the Panthers back to prominence next season, an unnamed AFC personnel executive painted a pretty bleak scenario for Young when speaking to Matt Lombardo from Heavy.com.
"The NFC South is wide open, so Frank [Reich] will probably do pretty well. Frank is the definition of a pro’s pro. His key will be Bryce Young, and his ability to stay on the field. I worry that Bryce is going to get killed, like, smashed."- AFC personnel executive via Heavy
Could Young get hurt with a big hit? Sure.
But the same applies to any quarterback sitting in the pocket waiting for a physically dominant defender to lay the wood.
Whether it's a player with Young's height or someone of Cam Newton's physical profile, all it takes is one mammoth shot to alter their career trajectory. The Panthers are well aware of the risks and are getting ample time to decrease these through scheme adaptation, offensive line continuity, and keeping enough throwing lanes open consistently to ensure complications are kept to a minimum.
It's always the anonymous front office figures that have the most to say. One suspects this might become an ongoing trend with every batted pass or sack Young encounters throughout his rookie season.
There will be growing pains - anyone who thinks otherwise is killing themselves. No first-year quarterback enjoys a smooth ride in Year 1, but how Young emerges from the other side will be critical to the player and the Panthers' chances of sustainable success long-term.
To say this would be a worst-case scenario is an understatement. But many people could be eating their words by the time Young's finished his regular-season commitments in 2023.