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Signs keep pointing to Bryce Young at No. 1 to Carolina

Mike Florio and Myles Simmons analyze which way the Panthers are leaning for the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft and whether they believe Bryce Young is the current frontrunner.

As the 2023 draft inches closer, the quarterback who stands barely above 70 of them may be the selection of the Panthers.

Last Monday, Peter King gave real credence to the possibility of Bryce Young being Carolina’s selection, despite previous indications pointing to C.J. Stroud. Chris Mortensen of ESPN did some of the same later in the week.

Today, both King and Albert Breer of add more fuel to the Bryce Young to Carolina fire.

“The momentum toward Young is real,” King writes.

Breer adds that David Tepper and his wife, Nicole, spent “a good amount of time” with Young’s parents at the Alabama Pro Day, and that Young “acquitted himself incredibly well” when meeting with coach Frank Reich. Breer also notes that Young “did really well” on a cognitive test aimed at measuring processing speeds for quarterbacks.

Tepper, per Breer, is a “big believer” in the so-called S2 test.

Frankly, I’m a big believer in Tepper’s ultimate influence over the final decision. If he wants Young, he’ll get Young. And he won’t have to say, “I want Young.” Those who work for him will know where he stands, and they’ll act accordingly.

But that won’t change the fact that Young is just over five-ten, and most likely more than a few pounds under 200 pounds when in uniform. An unnamed coach shared this with King about Young’s size.

“Alabama’s line was superior, and Young consistently had enough time to throw,” the unnamed coach said. “Taking away nothing from him, because he made the throws and made the plays to be great. But the offensive line for him will be crucial. Think of the defensive coordinators he’ll face, and how much they’ll emphasize putting good hits on him. I don’t see how that’s not a big factor when you put a grade on him.”

It’s an even bigger factor when considering the recent struggles of Tua Tagovailoa. The physics aren’t on his side. His body hits the ground, his helmet hits the turf.

That same thing could happen to Young. It’s one of the risks the team that drafts him will be assuming. And while the potential rewards are tremendous, it’s important for the team that takes Young to strike the right balance -- especially if it’s the team that moved from No. 9 to No. 1.