Carolina Panthers officially swing for the fences with Bryce Young at No. 1

Bryce Young
Bryce Young / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Carolina Panthers officially swung for the fences by selecting former Alabama quarterback Bryce Young at No. 1 overall in the 2023 NFL Draft. 

We now know for sure who the Carolina Panthers' next franchise quarterback is. But in truth, it's been in the works ever since their eye-popping trade to No. 1 overall. 

Bryce Young is and has probably always been the pick. After becoming the runaway favorite over the last fortnight, fans rejoiced as NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell finally put an end to all the rumors, speculation, and everything in between. 

There are some who didn't like the pick. C.J. Stroud's unbelievable passing at all three levels and Anthony Richardson's athletic upside were obviously tempting, but few would deny Young didn't have his own exceptional set of credentials that can transition superbly to the next level. 

Carolina Panthers land Bryce Young with the No. 1 pick

Young caught the Panthers' eye early on. He's undoubtedly the reason why they moved up to begin with, even if most had Carolina favoring Stroud thanks to the typical quarterback Frank Reich worked with during his coaching career. 

It's worth remembering Reich didn't pick any of these quarterbacks. Perhaps he was influential in Carson Wentz's trade to the Indianapolis Colts, but he's never had the chance to draft and develop a rookie of his own choosing. 

After a thorough assessment where every top quarterback was given a chance to impress, Young blew Carolina away with his football acumen, exceptional testing, and the way even the toughest questions didn't seem to phase him throughout. Something that was evident when general manager Scott Fitterer spoke about the prospect following their dinner before Alabama's pro day. 

"He held court. He was so well-spoken, so well thought-out. When he talked about his preparation, when he talked about how he studies, how he sees the game, he's at a different level. He's already at that NFL level, which is great to see. Nothing's too big for him. Like, he can walk into any environment and be in total control. At 21 years old, if I walked into a restaurant, sat around with a bunch of 40, 50-year-old men, it'd be a little intimidating. Instead, he just sat there and asked us questions. We asked him questions. … Just a really, really solid person."

Scott Fitterer via

This has been corroborated by the obvious calls to Nick Saban and almost everyone else who's worked with Young during his fledgling career. The accolades and on-field production speak for themselves, but it's how the player conducts himself and leads from the front that's perhaps his biggest asset. 

Something the Panthers can benefit from enormously. 

Whether you agree with the pick or not, Panthers fans would do well to remember what got them to this point. There was no plan whatsoever for what came next after Cam Newton's release, which sent the organization spiraling into the abyss before Matt Rhule was mercifully fired five games into the 2022 season. 

The stars aligned in Carolina's favor. Lovie Smith winning his final game as Houston Texans head coach when he knew the ax was coming has shifted the course of franchise history. When the same organization delayed moving up one spot to land Young, it left just enough space for Fitterer to swoop and send their plans into tatters. 

Carolina has been working for this moment all off-season. From the elite-level coaching staff to the free-agent signings, everything is set up for Young to thrive immediately. 

And few would be against him. 

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