The Carolina Panthers entered the 2023 NFL season with high hopes, following the appointment of Frank Reich as head coach and the acquisition of the first overall pick, Bryce Young. However, after just 11 games, Reich's dismissal and questions surrounding Young's performance as a potential draft bust have cast a shadow over the team's future.
With the team under the watchful eye of owner David Tepper, there is speculation about the Panthers' next moves, particularly concerning Young. The team's decision-making will be crucial in helping Young reach his potential and avoid the pitfalls faced by other high draft picks like Zach Wilson and Trey Lance, while hoping for a trajectory more akin to Trevor Lawrence's.
Young's performance, when compared to his rookie peers, has been underwhelming. Ranking near the bottom in efficiency among rookie quarterbacks, his stats over 10 starts include a passer rating of 74.9, 187.7 passing yards per game, 9 touchdowns, 8 interceptions, a 61.7% completion rate, and an average of 5.4 yards per attempt.
His athletic potential has not been fully utilized either, with only 161 rushing yards. Young has also been sacked 40 times, a concerning number that highlights issues with decision-making and lack of support from his offensive line and receiving corps.
Young's Promising Glimpses
Despite these challenges, Young has shown flashes of his potential, notably in a head-to-head victory against C.J. Stroud in Week 8. This performance suggests that, with the right support and system, Young could still fulfill his promise.
History shows that many great quarterbacks, including Peyton Manning and Trevor Lawrence, have had challenging rookie seasons but went on to have successful careers. For Young to avoid the label of a draft bust, the Panthers need to provide him with a conducive environment for growth.
This includes strengthening the offensive line, adding reliable receiving options, and making strategic personnel decisions. The team's management must learn from successful cases like the Jacksonville Jaguars, who turned around their fortunes by building a supportive ecosystem around their young quarterback.
Ultimately, the question of whether Young is a draft bust cannot be answered definitively at this stage. It is a complex interplay between the player's abilities and the system he operates in. The Panthers, therefore, should avoid hasty judgments and focus on creating a supportive framework for Young's development. His true potential will likely become clearer in the coming seasons.