A Shams Bomb!? Even though there was little suspense about who'd be the pick here, at least the insider who broke the news was a stunner! Giant middle finger to Schefter and @RapSheet. COLD. BLOODED. Or maybe Schefty and Raps were being decent humans and not tipping picks. Who knows?
The odds were laughably short about a week out from the 2023 NFL Draft that Bryce Young would go to the Carolina Panthers. Now they've made it official, selecting the Alabama quarterback No. 1 overall on Thursday night. With this pick ideally comes a massive swell of relief in Charlotte. Shade your eyes from this recent lineup of Panthers starting QBs.
All that Reddit-fueled Will Levis buzz turned out to be a LIE because almost every single thing you hear around draft silly SZN is a fucking lie. Who is that Redditor? Does he or she now need to be held to account? Allegedly Levis was telling family and friends the Panthers were gonna get him!!
Levis himself debunked this. Grain of salt litmus test for the sportsbooks who send Levis' stock through the roof moving forward: When a Reddit user claims Barry Keoghan is being recast as The Joker for the next Batman movie and is trying to call a 50-1 long shot to be the first pick in the NFL Draft, maybe don't panic and overhaul your lines. Good lesson. Don't trust Reddit.
OK sorry. Back to Bryce Young. Heisman Trophy winner. Certified stud. Soft-spoken, small-sized slayer of SEC defenses for two straight seasons. OH THE ALLITERATION.
Young really is small. He tipped the scales at 204 pounds at the Combine but may or may not have been stuffing his face with multiple servings of pancakes every single morning leading up to that weigh-in. The 5-foot-10 signal-caller will have an NFL playing weight of closer to 180 or 185 soaking wet. That sounded weird upon reading it back.
The Panthers are banking on Young to come in and start right away. His decision-making, accuracy, pocket poise and ability to process quickly are all lauded as his strengths. He can also create those second-reaction, off-schedule plays with point guard-esque distributing ability and off-platform throws. Although Young doesn't have the biggest arm, he has enough juice to get it done. Everyone says if he were 6-2, 220, he'd be a no-brainer at No. 1 overall. Hard to disagree with that. You just have to hope he can hold up.
And look…you can be a big, strapping, prototypical quarterback and still get your ass pummeled if you can't escape trouble or tempt fate and hang in the pocket too long. Big QBs get hurt all the time. It's just a little dicier on any given play when you're talking about a QB of Young's unprecedentedly modest body mass.
Carolina owner David Tepper didn't make his fortune by shying away from risk. Young is a safe pick on one hand, but a ballsy pick on the other.
At least for now, the Panthers should be thrilled that they finally have a long-term answer at the most important position on the field. In a wide-open NFC South division with a strong, young defense to back him, I'd expect Young to have Carolina in contention for the playoffs right away. He'll have his own brainiac football intellect to bounce off the likes of head coach Frank Reich, offensive coordinator Thomas Brown and QB coach Josh McCown. Brown is a former NFL running back; Reich and McCown had long careers in the league as quarterbacks as well.
Things are really looking up for this franchise. Congrats to the Panthers and Bryce Young. I have a feeling this is going work out very, very well for everyone involved.