Bryce Young has had a tough start to his NFL career with the Carolina Panthers. The former Alabama quarterback led his squad to a 20-17 loss to the New Orleans Saints last night on Monday Night Football.
Young finished with 153 passing yards on 22/33 and a touchdown, while also adding 34 yards on the ground. This brings his career total through two games to 299 passing yards (31st in the league), 2 passing touchdowns, a 35.9 QBR (27th), 2 interceptions (T-27th), and an 0-2 record. It's not that Young has played particularly bad, but he has been out-performed by the other rookie quarterbacks taken behind him in the NFL draft that has magnified Young's play.
Second overall pick C.J. Stroud has also failed to bring the Houston Texans their first win of the season, but he has shown flashes of the elite-caliber quarterback he could one day be. Through two games, Stroud has thrown for 626 passing yards (4th in the league), two touchdowns, and no interceptions. Additionally, Stroud is one of only four quarterbacks in the league to have thrown for over 600 yards in the first two weeks, while also maintaining a better completion percentage (63.7%) than Patrick Mahomes, Trevor Lawrence, Mathew Stafford, Joe Burrow, and yes, Bryce Young. Most likely not sustainable for an entire rookie season, but still something to note for now.
Anthony Richardson has also kept pressure on Young after being selected with the 4th pick by the Indianapolis Colts in the 2023 draft. Richardson was looking great through a game and a quarter, before exiting the game on Sunday against the Texans for concussion protocol. It's a small sample size, but AR has shown the ability to be effective not only through the air, but especially on the ground. Richardson is one of only three players in the NFL with three rushing touchdowns. The comparisons to Cam Newton are checking out thus far.
Young is still searching for that X-factor to his game. Stroud has the strong arm while also possessing the ability to run, while Richardson has all of the makings to potentially be one of the most dominant rushing quarterbacks we have ever seen with his 6-foot 4-inch 245 pound frame.
It's too early to rule Bryce Young out completely as an NFL quarterback. He has only started in two games and is 22-years old. To this point, he is actually right on track with previous former No. 1 overall picks at the quarterback position who started day one. Here's some stats through the first two weeks for some of the most recent No. 1 overall pick quarterbacks.
2021: Trevor Lawrence - 240 passing yards, 4 TD, 5 INT, 0-2
2020: Joe Burrow - 509 passing yards, 3 TD, 1 INT, 0-2
2019: Kyler Murray - 657 passing yards, 2 TD, 1INT, 0-2 (One OT Loss)
2018: Baker Mayfield - 496 passing yards, 2 TD, 2 INT, 1-1
Young starts at a disadvantage standing 5-feet 10-inches, but he has gotten this far with the height disadvantage and he has room to grow - in his game, probably not physically. But who knows? He is at such a disadvantage compared to an average NFL defensive line that the Panther had to sub in 12-year NFL veteran Andy Dalton to perform a QB sneak against the Saints on monday night. That is an issue.
It also would help if the Panthers possessed a halfway decent offensive line, reliable rushing attack, and a more threatening wide receiver group than DJ Chark Jr., Hayden Hurst, and 33-year old Adam Thielen. For more thoughts and opinion on this matter, check out this podcast from 'In The Zone' with myself and Brandon Kravitz from earlier today on FM 96.9 The Game