It has not even been a year since Bryce Young went No. 1 overall to the Carolina Panthers in the 2023 NFL Draft, but he is not going first in this ESPN.com re-draft of sorts. Nor is he going in the Top 10 even.
The ESPN beat reporters did a re-draft for the first two rounds of last year's springtime event. While Young could be a good player for Carolina at some point, the smarter pick at No. 1 would have been C.J. Stroud out of Ohio State.
Stroud went to an equally dysfunctional franchise being led by a new head coach in DeMeco Ryan's Houston Texans. He kicked some serious tail during his first year leading the Texans. Houston won the AFC South and a playoff game over the Cleveland Browns. The Texans played very well on the road in the AFC Divisional Round vs. the top-seeded Baltimore Ravens. Things are looking up for them, aight.
As for Carolina, the Panthers went 2-15. Frank Reich was fired midway through his first season on the job. As it turns out, he was far beyond cooked as a head coach before he even arrived in Charlotte. Worst of all, the Panthers will not have the No. 1 overall pick this spring, as that now belongs to the Chicago Bears, the team Carolina traded up from No. 9 to No. 1 to select Young out of Alabama.
To make it even worse, Young does not come off the board in the re-draft until the Tennessee Titans picking at No. 11 overall. Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson came off the board before him...
Carolina Panthers picking Bryce Young was an early egregious mistake
While I like the Dave Canales hire at head coach, the Panthers have no choice to start Young for the next two seasons. Carolina will probably be one of the worst teams again in the NFL next season, but even then the need to make for certain that Young is or is not the guy before his fourth year out of Alabama. Carolina could draft his replacement in 2025, but do Carson Beck or Quinn Ewers fix this?
Not going to lie, I hated the trade down to No. 9 for Chicago. I thought passing on either Stroud or Young would come back to haunt them. This also allowed other elite players like Bijan Robinson and Jalen Carter to go elsewhere, which they did. However, I did not see Justin Fields being markedly better in year three out of Ohio State, nor did I see Reich being completely clueless leading Carolina.
I really want it to work out for Young in Carolina. Canales can be the head coach to get the most out of him, but it is going to take two-to-three years before the Panthers are highly competitive again. The worst part about this situation for Charlotte is Tepper is about as patient as a petulant brat screaming bloody murder for Skittles at the checkout line at your local grocery store. Bless up, Panthers fans.
Stroud had the higher upside coming out of college, yet the Panthers fumbled the snap so very badly.