Draft experts grade Panthers’ selection of No. 1 overall pick Bryce Young

2023 No. 1 overall pick Bryce Young seemingly passed every pre-draft test with flying colors. But what grade should the Carolina Panthers get for taking him?

Here are the marks from some of the game’s top experts.

Touchdown Wire: A

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This wouldn’t even be a question if Young stood 6-foot-2 and weighed 210 pounds. The fact that he has the same height/weight profile as Doug Flutie doesn’t negate his ability to call plays, read protections, execute a fully-formed passing game in and out of the pocket, and win against pressure to a preposterous degree. The Panthers have the first pick for the first time since they took Cam Newton in 2011, and their next real franchise quarterback is right here. Young is the first Alabama player to be selected first overall in the common draft era, and the first since Joe Namath in 1965.

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Doug Farrar

NFL.com: A

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After boldly moving up for the top overall pick in a trade with the Bears that cost them, in part, a 2024 first-round pick and receiver D.J. Moore, the Panthers selected Young, the most pro-ready quarterback in the class. Forget his lack of prototypical size; Young’s always been a leader and a winner who possesses the mental and physical attributes to become a Pro Bowl-caliber NFL starter. This is an excellent new direction for Carolina.

Chad Reuter

CBS Sports: B-

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He is the best pure passer in this draft, but I am worried about his size. It’s a strange move to move up to take a guy this small by giving up so much to do it. But he has talent, if he holds up. He’s an outlier we’ve never seen.


Pete Prisco

Yahoo! Sports: B+

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The Panthers have their new face of the franchise. What Young lacks in size and physical talent, he more than makes up for in skill. Carolina could have taken a more risky pick here with real home run potential like Anthony Richardson, but Young has the skills worthy of this spot. It’s a new era in Carolina

Charles McDonald

The Athletic: B-

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Nobody is questioning Young’s ability, just his size. Young’s frame (5-foot-11, 204) has led to fair speculation about how he could handle the NFL pounding. Other quarterbacks with his height have successfully adapted in recent years (Drew Brees, Russell WilsonKyler Murray), but they had thicker bodies. That’s a huge question mark despite Young’s prowess at Alabama, where he set single-season school records for passing yards (4,872) and touchdowns (47) in 2021 when he won the Heisman Trophy.

Perhaps the best physical comp for Young is Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Fran Tarkenton, who threw for 47,003 career yards and was nicknamed “The Scrambler.” If Young can complete passes and stay healthy like Tarkenton did in an era with far less quarterback protection, he’ll be an upper-third NFL quarterback within three years. If not, this decision could haunt Carolina for the next half-decade.


Scott Dochterman

Pro Football Focus: "Elite"

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Carolina moved up to No. 1 overall and secured their potential franchise quarterback. Despite concerns about his size, Young was the top QB on the PFF big board, and his 92.9 passing grade led all players at the position over the past two seasons.

PFF Editorial Team

The Ringer: B+

Columbia Daily Tribune

The Panthers gave up no. 9, no. 61, a 2024 first-rounder, a 2025 second-rounder, and star wide receiver D.J. Moore to move up to this top spot. That’s a massive gamble to take for any one player, and now Carolina is compounding that risk by taking a historical outlier in Young, who becomes the smallest and slightest-framed first-round quarterback ever. The downside risk of this bet feels monumental. All that said, Young overcomes his lack of size with incredible quarterback traits—rare field vision, out-of-structure genius, and high-quality accuracy to go with top-tier personal and football character. I’m bullish on his potential to develop into a quality starter in the NFL and to make Carolina a contender in the NFC South.

Danny Kelly

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Story originally appeared on Panthers Wire