NFL writer highlights 'career-defining' season ahead for Bryce Young

The stakes are high for Bryce Young in 2024.
Bryce Young
Bryce Young / Morgan Tencza-USA TODAY Sports

Bryce Young knows how much is at stake next season. No matter how much the Carolina Panthers quarterback switches off away from the facility, he'll be hearing all the criticism and doubts surrounding his ability to meet long-term expectations after such a disappointing rookie campaign.

Young could have played better, for sure. But this was a terrible environment for any first-year signal-caller to hit the ground running. Thankfully, the Panthers have worked tirelessly throughout the offseason to ensure that won't be the case moving forward.

Carolina Panthers QB Bryce Young entering 'career-defining' season

New coaches, a new offensive line interior, more productive playmakers in the passing game, enhanced options in the backfield, and a scheme devised around his strengths represent a significant step forward for Young. Everything is in place for the player to succeed. Whether he can or not will be the ultimate deciding factor behind the Panthers displaying legitimate growth under new head coach Dave Canales.

The stakes are high, there's no getting away from that. Colum Dell from Yardbarker went one step further, naming Young as one of five players under 25 years old entering career-defining seasons in 2024.

"It's difficult to say that a quarterback's second season will be career-defining, especially for a signal-caller who entered the league in as disastrous a situation as [Bryce] Young did. But that's what comes with being the first overall pick in the NFL Draft. Young's supporting cast remains underwhelming, but he is better positioned to have a more productive season after the Panthers made strides to aid his development. Aside from hiring head coach Dave Canales, whose guidance helped Geno Smith and Baker Mayfield get their careers on track, Carolina notably acquired Diontae Johnson and drafted Xavier Legette — both wideouts — and added guard Robert Hunt. Should Young struggle again this season while Stroud takes another step forward, the Alabama product could soon be considered one of the worst No. 1 picks in recent memory."

This is a little dramatic, but it's not exactly a bold take either.

The pressure on Young to make improvements couldn't be more glaring. Canales will be patient with his signal-caller - after all, he truly believes this he's got some special gifts that can be nurtured positively under his leadership. Most sections of the fanbase also have faith, but that won't be the case for much longer if the former Heisman Trophy winner out of Alabama plateaus or regresses with an enhanced supporting cast.

It would take a drastic downturn for the Panthers to consider moving off Young after two seasons. They invested heavily in the player hoping he could become their first franchise quarterback since Cam Newton took the NFL by storm. Last season could be classed as a mulligan with so many mitigating circumstances attached to his demise, so those in power might see this as a two-year project before deciding on the next step.

Young must harness this newfound positivity across the Panthers to his advantage. He must also embrace the challenge and respond positively. Making those who've already written him off without the correct context eat their words should be motivation enough.

The spotlight will be shining brighter on Young than most in 2024. It's time to see what the popular figure is made of.