Are the Carolina Panthers putting too much on Bryce Young's plate heading into his first pro training camp ahead of the 2023 season?
Bryce Young has an enormous amount of pressure on his shoulders. Very few will ever experience what it's like to be the first player taken in the draft, which comes with raised expectations, a glaring spotlight, and hopes of an immediate turnaround in fortunes.
That's just the way it is. Whether it's someone with generational qualities like Trevor Lawrence or a riskier play such as Baker Mayfield - teams always think that picking No. 1 overall is going to solve all their problems in the blink of an eye.
Obviously, that's not always the case.
For every Peyton Manning or Cam Newton, there is a Mayfield or JaMarcus Russell. There are no guarantees regardless of the hype that follows, but the Carolina Panthers genuinely believe they've found the right guy in Young after an exceptional college career where he displayed every trait normally associated with NFL superstardom.
Young's integration into the Panthers was exemplary during early workouts. He won over teammates with quiet confidence and ruthless conviction throughout team drills, which left the coaching staff feeling confident about putting even more on his plate than originally anticipated.
Carolina Panthers are doing the right thing with Bryce Young
Dan Orlovsky of ESPN recently claimed that the Panthers have opened up their entire playbook for Young thanks to his commitment to learning and supreme football intelligence. This is almost unprecedented for someone with no NFL experience and only adds to the level of anticipation.
One could make a case that the Panthers are getting carried away and putting too much on Young. But this is something he's been preparing for from the moment he started emerging as a high school star in California before moving to Alabama, which is renowned for being a premier pro pipeline under Nick Saban.
This was discussed by Schuyler Callihan of Sports Illustrated recently. The writer highlighted Young's readiness for the big time and even though there will be some expected bumps in the road, his poise and ability to remain even-keeled should be tremendous building blocks for future prosperity.
"Sure, the NFL is a completely different beast and he'll go through his fair share of struggles. But how Young typically responds to adversity is what makes the Panthers comfortable with the idea of throwing him out there Week 1 in Atlanta. The big stage doesn't phase him, nor should it considering how much he's been on it throughout his career. You're not going to see him play out of character or outside of the offense because the defense presents a foggy picture. He'll make the most out of every situation and not try to win the game on one play."- Schuyler Callihan, Sports Illustrated
Young is not walking into a typical No. 1 pick's situation, which obviously helps. Carolina traded up for the privilege to bring him on board and almost made the playoffs after a rousing second half of 2022, so there is a lot to like about their chances for genuine progress next time around.
The Panthers also assembled a coaching staff widely regarded among the league's best. There is enough experience and progressive thinking to keep Young's best interests at heart - but if Carolina's new and improved brain trust feels comfortable handing their rookie signal-caller responsibilities more in-keeping with proven veterans, that should be good enough for fans.
There is a possibility this goes wrong, especially if the durability concerns surrounding Young rear their head at some stage. But there's every chance that pushing the Heisman Trophy winner could reap some pretty substantial rewards not only next season but over the next decade.