Height matters when it comes to Frank Reich and who the Carolina Panthers will take at No. 1.
If Bryce Young were 6-foot-3, then Frank Reich would have not any issues making the former Alabama star quarterback the No. 1 pick by the Carolina Panthers.
While Reich said he had a high grade on Russell Wilson coming out of Wisconsin, that was over a decade ago, and his team didn’t draft even him! Panthers general manager Scott Fitterer’s former employer in the Seattle Seahawks sure did, and that worked out splendidly for them. Although the Panthers could do the smart thing and take Young first, Reich is going to take C.J. Stroud instead.
With his current commentary about Young’s 5-foot-10 stature, Reich is so going to screw this up.
Is Bryce Young’s height (5-10) a factor for the Panthers in evaluating the Bama quarterback for the top pick? Says Frank Reich: “Absolutely that is a consideration. It’s also a consideration . . . his playmaking ability, his accuracy and his leadership, his instincts.’’
— David Newton (@DNewtonespn) March 28, 2023
If Reich is as good of a quarterback whisperer as everyone says he is, then he should have no issues making it work with Young, the most talented quarterback in this particular draft class.
Frank Reich is making a big issue out of Bryce Young’s height again, isn’t he?
Look. For NFC South reasons, I don’t care for the Panthers. I would prefer for them to use the first pick on either Will Levis out of Kentucky or Anthony Richardson out of Florida, and for it to totally blow up in their faces. However, I do recognize they have plenty of smart football people in their building, so I don’t think they are going to hopelessly screw the pooch this badly in the NFL Draft.
What I am concerned about is the Indianapolis Colts did a number on Reich’s decision-making processes. Owner Jim Irsay seems like a nice guy and a pretty cool hang, but seemingly everyone who goes into that building sees their IQ drop 25 points upon arrival. Reich has had some time to get back to baseline, but has enough passed for him to escape the great Indianapolis brain drain?
If I were the Panthers, I would take Young No. 1 and never think twice about it. Doing so would absolutely break the Houston Texans into a thousand pieces, so the overall pettiness in denying fellow Alabama alum DeMeco Ryans what is his would sustain me. Stop lying to yourself; it would sustain you, too. But over the last two years, I cannot be convinced Young is not the top selection.
There is a certain likability and leadership perspective Young has that the other top quarterback prospects don’t. Stroud seems unsure of himself, Levis is “different” and Richardson quits when the going gets tough. Young could have opted out of the Sugar Bowl, but he wanted to send Alabama out with a victory over Big 12 champion Kansas State in New Orleans. It was pretty cool.
From a height perspective, I could care less if Young does not measure up to your standard. He can not only play within the confines of a pro-style offense, as Bill O’Brien was his Alabama offensive coordinator, but he is cool under pressure when having to go off-script. He has a bit of that Aaron Rodgers/Patrick Mahomes/Ryan Fitzpatrick flair to him that I can never seem to get enough of.
Furthermore, you have to look at it from this perspective if you are the Panthers: What happens if he balls out elsewhere and your guy stinks? To pass on Young for Stroud, Richardson or even Levis is bolder than the Atlanta Falcons punting on Lamar Jackson in favor of Desmond Ridder. All four first-round quarterbacks are ripe for the picking, but didn’t y’all move up eight spots to have dibs?
Overall, it is going to look so terrible if Young becomes Houston’s next great superstar, while Carolina’s quarterback ends up being native Charlottean Daniel Jones, a guy four years in that we aren’t even sure if he’s good. More importantly, all the pressure is on Reich to pick and develop the right guy. Stroud is the safer of the other options, but even then picking him first is at a premium.
Ultimately, it does probably serve Reich, Fitterer, owner David Tepper and the rest of the Panthers brass to keep this incredibly close to the vest. They need to gather as much intel as humanly possible to nail this pick. If they make the right choice, Reich and his guy will end up in Canton. Should they pass on Young and their dude flubs, then the history books will not be kind to Carolina.
You are not passing on Michael Jordan if you pass on Young, but you are passing on a Joe Burrow.