NFL Rumors: Carolina Panthers Intend to Select Alabama Quarterback With 1st Overall Pick

With the 2023 NFL Draft only weeks away, all eyes are on the Carolina Panthers and their first overall pick. Apparently, the drama is over. According to ESPN's Chris Mortensen, the team has set its sights on Alabama quarterback Bryce Young.

The Panthers had previously been linked to Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud. Stroud has an ideal NFL frame (6'3", 214 lbs) and passed for an impressive 8123 yards, 85 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions in 25 appearances with the Buckeyes. He projects as a prototypical passer at the next level, which is what makes the Panthers' preference for Young surprising.

Young's success and production are second to none in the NFL Draft. The 2021 Heisman Trophy winner compiled 8356 passing yards and 80 touchdowns with only 12 interceptions in his last two seasons with the Crimson Tide. His only red flag is his atypical build (5'10 and 204 lbs). 

Young presents an intriguing conundrum for NFL evaluators. Success at his stature in the NFL is all but unprecedented. Diminutive quarterbacks Kyler Murray (5'10", 207 lbs) and Russell Wilson (5'11, 204 lbs) have found success in the pros, but they sport mobility in their games that Young does not. Drew Brees is a better analogue for his skillset, but even the famously undersized New Orleans Saints legend had a significantly sturdier frame (6'0, 213 lbs).

As the NFL continues its efforts to improve its safety (particularly for quarterbacks), it's possible durability won't be an issue for Young. If he succeeds, he'll be one of the most endearing underdogs the quarterback position has seen in quite some time.

Photo Credit: © Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch / USA TODAY NETWORK