Instant gratification era continues with Bryce Young and C.J. Stroud re-draft

ESPN reignited the debate surrounding Bryce Young and C.J. Stroud.

C.J. Stroud and Bryce Young
C.J. Stroud and Bryce Young / Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Bryce Young's indifferent rookie campaign saw the Carolina Panthers go in a different direction during ESPN's 2023 NFL re-draft.

Nobody is disputing Bryce Young's first season with the Carolina Panthers didn't go according to plan. C.J. Stroud's rapid emergence with the Houston Texans didn't help. All it did was fan the flames of those who wanted the former Ohio State star in Charlotte.

The Panthers didn't do enough to help Young achieve similar results in Year 1 of his professional career. General manager Scott Fitterer proudly declared this mission had been accomplished after a busy offseason of recruitment. He couldn't have been more wrong and paid with his job.

Young's development is the primary reason why Dave Canales was appointed head coach. His track record in galvanizing quarterbacks down on their luck is renowned. The Panthers want him to continue this by assisting the former Alabama star build confidence and maximize the obvious gifts at his disposal.

Carolina Panthers take C.J. Stroud over Bryce Young in ESPN's re-draft

It's way too early to write Young off as a draft bust despite what you read in some media outlets and on social media. We live in an instant gratification era - something reflected by ESPN's 2023 re-draft that unsurprisingly had the Panthers choosing Stroud over Young at No. 1 overall.

"I'm not saying Stroud would have done much better than Young behind the Carolina offensive line that allowed Young to be sacked a team-record 62 times and with a receiving corps that was average at best. Young in many ways best fit what then-coach Frank Reich envisioned for his offense. But it's hard to deny the impressive numbers (23 touchdown passes to only five interceptions, 63.9% completion percentage) and poise Stroud showed in leading the Texans to the playoffs. Young could still prove to be a special player, but Stroud has already shown he is one."

David Newton, ESPN
Bryce Young beat C.J. Stroud during their first NFL meeting in 2023.
C.J. Stroud and Bryce Young / Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Hindsight is a wonderful thing to have. This also completely ignores the pre-draft conception that Young was the consensus No. 1 quarterback prospect. Anyone who suggests otherwise is simply revising history to suit their agenda.

This is also not discrediting Stroud's transition from college to the pros, which was nothing short of exceptional. He spearheaded an immense turnaround from the Houston Texans, guiding them to the playoffs and even notching a postseason win to further enhance his blossoming credentials.

Young mustered two wins and looked completely devoid of inspiration as all around him crumbled. Aside from a few flashes and one 300-yard passing performance, there wasn't much to cheer aside from the fact he stayed healthy behind one of the league's worst offensive lines.

The situations were at opposite ends of the spectrum. Until the Panthers do right by Young and surround him with everything he needs to get a proper evaluation, he gets the benefit of the doubt. Some fans won't take that approach - they'll continue with their unrelenting quest to tear down the signal-caller without proper context - but it's a fact.

If Young continues to struggle under Canales with upgrades around him and Stroud stays on his trajectory to greatness. then a conversation needs to be had. One that will start with the Panthers making one of the biggest errors in NFL Draft history.

Until then, things like this don't do anybody good. And one only has to look at how esteemed, respected figures in the football world perceive Young to see that something special is in there.

It's Canales' job to get it out.