FOX Sports analyst's bold Carolina Panthers claim
It's clear that the Carolina Panthers are building something special. There is a newfound belief among the fanbase that they can finally emerge from the football wilderness and into contention under the current regime, who've left no stone unturned in pursuit of significant improvements right out of the gate in 2023.
The NFC South is wide open after Tom Brady's retirement. Another thing that could assist the Panthers is the distinct lack of quarterback quality in the NFC conference compared to the AFC.
This is primarily dependent on Bryce Young and how quickly the No. 1 overall selection transitions from college to the professional ranks. However, Colin Cowherd of FOX Sports stated via Sportskeeda he believes Carolina could be the NFL's surprise team next season if everything comes together quickly.
"I have decided that Carolina is my surprise team in the league this year. Somebody doubles their win total. We went and looked this morning… over the last, you go back to the 90s. The average is six new playoff teams and at least four. So I don't see a ton of surprises in the AFC because the quarterbacks are so good and dominant. The NFC though is kind of wide open after Philadelphia and the Niners roster… I think Carolina is going to be surprisingly capable with Bryce Young."- Colin Cowherd via Sportskeeda
This represents the best-case scenario for everyone associated with the franchise. Everything must go right for the scenario to become reality, but it cannot be ruled out entirely given how many positive changes transpired this spring.