The Carolina Panthers traded up for the first overall pick this year and selected quarterback Bryce Young. The early reviews have been positive.
The franchise first took the field in 1995 and has had its good and bad times. In 28 NFL seasons, the Carolina Panthers have won six division titles and made a pair of Super Bowl appearances in 28 NFL seasons, albeit both ending contests ended in defeat. Still, it is a team that has never posted consecutive winning campaigns. Go figure.
The Panthers have currently posted five consecutive losing seasons dating back to 2018. That is also unprecedented in the team’s somewhat-brief history. Carolina comes off a 7-10 showing under head coaches Matt Rhule and Steve Wilks.
Enter new sideline leader Frank Reich, who like Rhule didn’t make it through the 2022 season. The former Indianapolis Colts head coach isn’t the only fresh face in Charlotte. With the first overall pick in April, the team drafted former University of Alabama quarterback Bryce Young, who won a Heisman Trophy with the Crimson Tide in 2021.
The Panthers have struggled with stability behind center in recent years. This past season, Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold and P.J. Walker combined for 17 starts and Jacob Eason also saw some action. The quartet combined for just as many TD passes (16) as turnovers.
Panthers: Bryce Young leaving strong impression on teammates in OTAs
Minicamps and OTAs do not a season make, but Young has certainly made a big impression on his new teammates in a very brief time.
“It’s hard not to like that kid,” said star pass-rusher Brian Burns (via ESPN’s David Newton). “He’s put quite a stamp on the locker room. He walks around with this kind of—excuse my language—humble but I know I’m the s—‘ type of swag. You know? He’s got it, but he’s humble with it.”
“There’s so much talk about him, so there’s not a whole lot of surprise,” explained wide receiver Adam Thielen, who signed with Carolina this offseason after he was cut loose by the Vikings after eight seasons. “For me, it’s probably been his movement in the pocket, his ability to get the ball out on time but do that in a way that isn’t just, like, sitting in one stagnant spot…”
Thielen is one of numerous free agents, along with wideout D.J. Chark, running back Miles Sanders and tight end Hayden Hurst, signed by general manager Scott Fitterer this offseason. Carolina finished 29th in the league in total yards and passing yards per game in 2022. There’s a long way to go before Week 1 of the regular season, but it’s hard to ignore the positive vibes coming out of Charlotte in regards to their rookie quarterback.