How can the Carolina Panthers justify passing up Bryce Young?
By Dean Jones
How can the Carolina Panthers justify passing on former Alabama quarterback Bryce Young at No. 1 overall in the 2023 NFL Draft?
There is fierce debate surrounding what the Carolina Panthers are going to do at the quarterback position. Moving up to No. 1 overall in the 2023 NFL Draft is one thing, but finding the right signal-caller to take this franchise into future prosperity is a completely different matter.
Multiple reports are beginning to surface regarding Carolina's top pick. But it appears as if it's between the consensus top-three quarterbacks, who all come with eye-catching strengths and franchise-caliber credentials.
The Panthers are rightfully keeping things close to their chest right now. General manager Scott Fitterer stated that discussions will ramp up in the coming weeks before the big night, but Carolina at least has control of its destiny after sacrificing some significant draft capital and wide receiver D.J. Moore for the privilege.
Carolina Panthers face a huge call with Bryce Young
Bryce Young is one of the hottest names in the pre-draft cycle, with good reason. The one-time Alabama stud conjures up magic under center every time he steps onto the field and comes into the NFL on the back of two outstanding campaigns with the Crimson Tide that also included a Heisman Trophy in 2021.
Young's poise, accuracy, and ability to improvise on the move all look NFL-ready. The durability concerns cannot be dismissed, but this doesn't stop the prospect from seeing the field to make the correct decision more often than not.
If injuries don't become a factor, Young could be special. Someone that would instantly change Carolina's fortunes under Frank Reich and his elite coaching staff.
There is some skepticism surrounding Young. His height and weight are not associated with the prototypical NFL quarterback, which might see the Panthers look towards C.J. Stroud or even Anthony Richardson when push comes to shove.
Passing on Young's immense credentials is a huge call to make. He is the best quarterback in this year's class in almost every statistical metric, so justifying such a decision when the fans are clamoring for an exciting difference-maker under center might take some explaining.
For example, if Young stays healthy and thrives elsewhere - probably on the Houston Texans at No. 2 overall - then questions will be asked. Especially if Stroud or Richardson don't perform as well.
It appears as if the Panthers won't factor the durability issue much into their equation.
Reich stated that he is looking for a playmaker above all else. Carolina can also insulate their rookie behind the team's much-improved offensive line and a running attack led by productive free-agent signing Miles Sanders.
When one factors everything into the equation, Stroud is the safer pick. However, that doesn't necessarily mean the former Ohio State star will be the best pick for the Panthers.
If Young was 6-foot-3, this would not even be a debate. But unfortunately for the incoming college recruit, he isn't.
That will be the primary reason why the Panthers go in a different direction. There is nothing from a talent, intangible, or intelligence standpoint that indicates Young isn't worthy of the No. 1 overall selection, it would be down to their concerns about measurables that scare them off.
It's a little harsh on Young, but that's the nature of the business. And after the Panthers made their bold move to get their choice of college quarterbacks, they must have 100 percent conviction.