Why Bryce Young's height wasn't a problem for the Carolina Panthers
By Dean Jones
Bryce Young's height is most certainly an NFL outlier, but here's why it didn't matter all that much to the Carolina Panthers before taking him No. 1 overall.
The Carolina Panthers had their sets set on Bryce Young when they struck their bombshell trade with the Chicago Bears to control the 2023 NFL Draft. After an exhausting evaluation process that saw the consensus top-four quarterback prospects get serious consideration, those in power were more convinced than ever.
Young's production is as impressive as it gets. From being a highly-touted high school star in Southern California to two glorious campaigns at Alabama that brought a Heisman Trophy along the way, the on-field flaws were very few and something that had the signal-caller at the top of almost every draft board around the league.
However, it's Young's intelligence off the field that truly sets him apart. The ability to prepare thoroughly, see things before they happen, and process information to an elite level wowed the Panthers during the assessments - leaving no doubt he was their guy at No. 1 overall.
Carolina Panthers are supremely confident in Bryce Young
Of course, serious concerns were raised about Young's frame and how it might hold up at the next level. He is a definite outlier despite the promise of bulking up slightly with further strength and conditioning, but the Panthers obviously have a plan in place to ensure complications are kept to a minimum.
When speaking to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk via The Comeback, general manager Scott Fitterer stated how the Panthers explored Young's height comprehensively on tape. After deep analysis, their fears were alleviated in no uncertain terms.
"One thing about Bryce is he can see over the middle of the field. We did the heat map with him where a lot of his completions were right over the middle of the field. Guys who are six-three, six-four, getting balls batted down, throwing over the middle, lower completion rate. The one thing about Bryce, he had a really high completion rate. He only had two batted balls."- Scott Fitterer via PFT/The Comeback
Another thing Fitterer divulged from Carolina's studies on Young was how easy the quarterback made everything look. Every move has a purpose and even though the danger remains, there were far more positives than negatives when making this franchise-altering decision.
"There’s a real art to that and he makes it look so easy. … They’re very subtle movements. He’s finding that lane, he’s throwing the ball. We didn’t think the height would be a factor with him. It was something we definitely studied, and you have to study it because it’s a real thing, but he does have those compensating factors."- Scott Fitterer via PFT/The Comeback
What's important for the Panthers is doing everything possible to limit Young being hit. They've acquired savvy players that can get open quickly via free agency and the 2023 NFL Draft, with the offensive line also coming on significantly last season after years of suspect performance levels.
Another positive for the Panthers was time. Making the trade so early allowed offensive coordinator Thomas Brown and head coach Frank Reich to mold their new system around Young, which should maximize the player's strengths and keep him relatively out of harm's way.
No quarterback goes without punishment. There will be grimaces aplenty when Young hits the deck for the first time, but as Fitterer stated, other things more than compensate.
Besides, the NFL has changed a lot since every quarterback was 6-foot-3 and over. If Young ends up working out, then he'll serve as an inspiration to those with similar questions who didn't hold out much hope beforehand.