What does Cam Newton see in potential Carolina Panthers pick Bryce Young?
By Dean Jones
What does former Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton see in his potential franchise successor Bryce Young as the No. 1 pick looms?
As Bryce Young gets set to become the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, there is a sizeable task awaiting the promising young quarterback. Expectations will be high after what the Carolina Panthers gave up to secure his services, with everything seemingly in place to make an immediate run at the NFC South title with a smooth transition.
Young has emerged as the runaway favorite ahead of tonight's big occasion. The former Alabama stud gained significant momentum over the last two weeks, with Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network claiming via sources that Carolina has had him in their sights from the start.
This extensive assessment phase was more to confirm their belief than anything else. The Panthers gave C.J. Stroud, Anthony Richardson, and Will Levis the opportunity to blow them away, but they kept coming back to Young.
His elite tape, NFL-ready processing, and cerebral assassin personality haven't deviated. There are some concerns about durability and whether his slender frame can hold up, but the reward could be phenomenal if Frank Reich and his staff insulate him effectively.
Carolina Panthers legend Cam Newton on Bryce Young
Panthers icon Cam Newton - who is still looking for a job and is reportedly willing to be a backup - gave his opinion on what Carolina should do regarding their top pick. The former NFL MVP threw further support behind Young, highlighting one overlooked element of his character that sets him apart from most.
"This is how I judge quarterbacks as a whole. Everybody can throw. Everybody has talent. Everybody has upside. Everybody has intangibles. But the thing that everybody doesn’t have, and it’s simple, is leadership and can you get a (expletive) to follow you. Like, straight up: Can you get somebody to follow you? He has had the ability to play in big games, perform in big games and to get guys to buy into him. You see guys selling out for him."- Cam Newton via Al.com
Getting guys to buy in at the NFL level will be more difficult, especially considering Young's small stature and quiet demeanor. However, there are more than enough experienced figures within the locker room to ensure complications are kept to a minimum.
Everyone is pursuing the same goal at the end of the day. They want Carolina to become a force, to be a winner, and to give fans belief once again after years of misery, false promises, and inept performances when Matt Rhule held absolute power.
Young holds Newton in high esteem based on his comments in recent weeks. So to get this sort of recommendation from one of the team's greatest-ever players is another spark that can enable the prospect to hit the ground running.
The chances of Newton coming back to aid with Young's development are remote. But rest assured, the Panthers have an elite coaching staff and a capable mentor in Andy Dalton to steer their rookie in the right direction.
After so much misery, the only way is up.
Everyone seems suitably impressed by Young's credentials - Newton included. But considering what the Panthers sacrificed to the Chicago Bears to get their pick of the quarterback litter, it better pay off.