The Carolina Panthers made history on Thursday night when they selected Bryce Young with the first overall pick in the 2023 NFL draft. Young, who won the Heisman Trophy in 2021 as the quarterback of the Alabama Crimson Tide, became the first player from his school to be drafted No. 1 overall in the modern era of the NFL draft.
Young had a remarkable college career, throwing for 8,200 yards and 79 touchdowns in two seasons as a starter for Alabama. He led the Crimson Tide to a national championship in 2021 and a 10-2 record in 2022. He also set several school records, including most passing yards and touchdowns in a single season.
Young is a dynamic playmaker who can make throws from any angle and extend plays with his mobility. He has excellent accuracy, poise and decision-making skills. He is also a natural leader who commands respect from his teammates and coaches.
The Panthers traded up from No. 9 to No. 1 with the Chicago Bears to secure Young as their franchise quarterback. They gave up two first-round picks, two second-round picks and wide receiver DJ Moore in exchange for the top pick and a fourth-round pick.
The Panthers have been searching for a long-term solution at quarterback since Cam Newton left the team after the 2019 season. They tried Teddy Bridgewater, Sam Darnold and Baker Mayfield, but none of them worked out for former coach Matt Rhule, who was fired last October.
The Panthers hired Frank Reich as their new head coach in January, and he was instrumental in choosing Young as his quarterback of the future. Reich has a history of developing quarterbacks, having worked with Peyton Manning, Andrew Luck and Carson Wentz in his previous coaching stops.
Young will join a talented offense that features running back Christian McCaffrey, wide receivers Robby Anderson and Terrace Marshall Jr., and tight end Tommy Tremble. He will also benefit from an improved offensive line that added center Ryan Kelly and guard Wyatt Davis in free agency.
Young is expected to start right away for the Panthers, who hope he can lead them back to the playoffs for the first time since 2017. He will face high expectations as the No. 1 overall pick, but he has shown that he can handle pressure and thrive on big stages.
Young is not only the first No. 1 overall pick from Alabama in 75 years, but he is also the first Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback to be drafted No. 1 overall since Kyler Murray in 2019. He joins an exclusive club of elite quarterbacks who have achieved both honors, such as Cam Newton, Peyton Manning and John Elway.
Young has already made history with his college career and his draft selection. Now he has a chance to make history with his NFL career as well.