It seems like this day has been coming for a while now, but the Carolina Panthers finally got their franchise guy at the QB position (or so they hope). Right around 8:15 P.M., Scott Fitterer, Frank Reich, and David Tepper made the decision collectively to select Alabama QB Bryce Young as the #1 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.
This moment wasn't a surprise to much of anyone except Bryce Young himself. In an interview shortly after having his name called, the former Heisman said that "throughout the entire time, I never knew where I was going. I never tried to measure anything up or tried to figure it out. I know anything was possible."
The Panthers coaching staff, however, was a different story. In his post-draft press conference, head coach Frank Reich said, "There wasn't much convincing needed. Young is the best quarterback."
It didn't take much convincing for fans either, who were largely clamoring for the talented signal caller via Twitter and other social media sites. They have seen the former Bama QB lead his team to a 23-4 overall record, recording 624 of 949 passes for 8356 yards, 80:12 TD-INT ratio, as well as 4 touchdowns on the ground. His ability to improvise and perform under pressure is an elite trait, something that Panthers fans haven't seen consistently seen since the likes of Cam Newton.
Speaking of the franchise great, Newton endorsed the new Panthers draft prior to the draft, saying: “Everybody can throw. Everybody has talent. Everybody has upside. The thing that everybody doesn’t have is simple — it’s leadership and (whether you) can get a motherf—er to follow you. If I’m the GM, if I’m the head coach, if I’m David Tepper, I’m selecting Bryce Young.”
If anything, it's Bryce's leadership that will translate to the next level. His calm and soft-spoken demeanor is critical in a locker room, and can be largely credited to his upbringing. His father is a mental health therapist, who raised him to be internally motivated with the hopes that the outside noise of being a #1 pick and the size concerns wouldn't rattle him. It seems that the 21 year old isn't too big for the moment:
"I feel like everyone is entitled to their own opinion. I think it's the beauty of sports, everyone's going to have opinions and everyone gets to talk about things. I think it's fair. But for me, I focus on controlling what I can control and putting my energy on what I can do. I know myself, I'm confident in myself. I'm going to put all my energy moving forward into proving myself so that I can help the team and doing everything I can to be the best Carolina Panther I can be."
That's exactly what fans want to hear from their No. 1 overall pick...to be the best Carolina Panther he can be.