NFC South: Bryce Young era starts in Charlotte

FLOWERY BRANCH — Like the Falcons, the Panthers have been looking for the replacement for their former MVP quarterback.

The traded the farm to move up eight spots to select former Alabama quarterback Bryce Young with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 NFL draft. He’s set to open the season against the Falcons at 1 p.m. Sunday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

“No one is ever ready (for their first start in the NFL),” ESPN draft analyst Dan Orlovsky said. “It’s like becoming a parent. Are you ready? Absolutely, not.”

But Young passed for more than 8,000 yards, 80 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in three seasons in Tuscaloosa and won the Heisman Trophy after his sophomore season.

He’ll have to go into survival mode early in his career.

“But do you have any form of skills that allow you to survive a little bit because that’s what it is early on,” Orlovsky said. “Then with those skills can you thrive. Everybody is individualized.”

No one questions Young’s ability to throw the football.

“Anybody can anticipate and anybody can be accurate, but can you do them at the same time,” said Orlovsky, who played quarterback at Connecticut and was a backup in the NFL for seven seasons.

Young, who’s listed at 6-foot and 194 pounds, doesn’t have an accomplished group of wide receivers.

“I think that (anticipation and accuracy) is a big thing because they don’t have guys (who) are going to win (against defensive backs) consistently,” Orlovsky said. “Not that much right now. The ability to just let the ball go and trust your skill and talent to judge angles, speed for guys and throw the ball to a spot where your guys are going to have a chance to go the play on it.”

The Panthers’ offensive line is shaky, too.

“Bryce is going to have to be really good at evading unblocked guys, or free runners, guys that win in their pass rush,” Orlovsky said. “Not only evading them, but making sure that they don’t get free shots on him. I think that’s the stuff that stands out for Bryce, the quick mind, the processing.”

The Bow Tie Chronicles

About the Author