What convinced the Carolina Panthers to take Bryce Young at No. 1?
By Dean Jones
What convinced the Carolina Panthers to select quarterback Bryce Young at No. 1 overall in the 2023 NFL Draft?
It's already been one week since the Carolina Panthers made Bryce Young their quarterback of the future. This seemed like a done deal over the final two weeks of the pre-draft process, which proved to be the case as Roger Goodell called his name first to kick off proceedings last Thursday.
There is an enormous amount of excitement surrounding Young. Concerns about his durability are obvious and cannot be ignored, but the former Alabama star has the credentials, proven production, and every other quality one looks for in a franchise signal-caller at the next level.
In fairness to the Panthers, they gave every one of the consensus top-four candidates a legitimate shot at changing their minds. Young was the reason they went up to No. 1, but many believed until the last second that they'd go with C.J. Stroud, instead.
When did the Carolina Panthers decide on Bryce Young?
Based on the reports surfacing after the draft, that was never likely to occur. When speaking to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk this week, general manager Scott Fitterer declared that Young's pre-pro day dinner with a plethora of Panthers personnel was his personal tipping point behind the selection.
"The one thing that stands out is probably at dinner, the night before his Pro Day. We had a couple-hour dinner with him, and as you’re sitting there at dinner, you’re just looking at this guy, and I’m thinking in my head the whole time, ‘OK, is this the right guy for us? Is this the guy we want kind of being our face? Is he the one we want leading our team in the huddle when it’s the fourth quarter?’ And you have all these questions in your head as you’re sitting at dinner just watching him talk to other people. And that’s kind of the moment that I had personally where I thought, ‘OK, this is the guy. This is the guy that we want leading the team.'"- Scott Fitterer via Pro Football Talk
So as many predicted, Fitterer had his guy for a while. Based on the five-second conversation to confirm things with Frank Reich, the head coach was also in firm agreement.
Young's poise on and off the field is astounding. He's softly spoken with a killer instinct between the lines, which is something teammates naturally gravitate towards and should get everyone on board despite the steep step-up in class.
Not everyone approves of the pick, which is fine. Opinions are what makes the game so great, but what's important for Panthers fans is leaving their personal agendas to one side and getting fully behind Carolina's choice, which could be the spark that ignites them back into postseason contention.
It won't be easy and there are bound to be some bumps in the road, but the Panthers saw enough in Young to sacrifice a significant amount. And the sound football minds within the building should only add to the level of confidence heading into the new campaign.
Young is an outlier given his height and weight. But the Panthers have surrounded their new rookie signal-caller with everything he could possibly need to make a real go of things immediately.
Expectations will be high and the bullseye on his back is going to be large considering Young is the No. 1 overall pick. However, the signal-caller thrives on this sort of pressure and is willing to hold himself and others to high standards in pursuit of the overall goal.
If the likes of Fitterer, Reich, and other influential figures within Carolina's war room are convinced, you should be too. Although it won't take long for the 'I told you so' brigade to emerge when Young takes longer than expected to get up from a hit.
That's the nature of the business, unfortunately.