The Carolina Panthers drafted former Alabama QB Bryce Young over Ohio State’s CJ Stroud in last year’s NFL Draft.
Ironically, Stroud and Young are close friends, but their rookie seasons went in completely different directions.
Young’s development — or lack thereof — is the primary reason why Dave Canales was appointed head coach. His track record in galvanizing quarterbacks down on their luck is renowned. The Panthers want him to continue this by assisting the former Alabama star build confidence and maximize the obvious gifts at his disposal.
Hindsight is always 20/20, but ESPN’s 2023 zre-draft had the Carolina Panthers choosing Stroud over Young at No. 1 overall, while admitted the former Ohio State QB would have had similar struggles if he landed in Carolina instead of Houston.
“I’m not saying CJ Stroud would have done much better than Young behind the Carolina offensive line that allowed Young to be sacked a team-record 62 times and with a receiving corps that was average at best. Bryce Young in many ways best fit what then-coach Frank Reich envisioned for his offense. But it’s hard to deny the impressive numbers (23 touchdown passes to only five interceptions, 63.9% completion percentage) and poise Stroud showed in leading the Texans to the playoffs. Young could still prove to be a special player, but Stroud has already shown he is one.”
Young mustered two wins and looked completely devoid of inspiration as all around him crumbled. Aside from a few flashes and one 300-yard passing performance, there wasn’t much to cheer aside from the fact he stayed healthy behind one of the league’s worst offensive lines.
The situations were at opposite ends of the spectrum. Until the Panthers do right by Young and surround him with everything he needs to get a proper evaluation, he gets the benefit of the doubt. Some fans won’t take that approach – they’ll continue with their unrelenting quest to tear down the signal-caller without proper context – but it’s a fact.
If Young continues to struggle under Canales with upgrades around him and Stroud stays on his trajectory to greatness. then a conversation needs to be had
CJ Stroud Shreds Carolina Panthers Organization For Setting Bryce Young Up For failure
Stroud is fully aware of the importance of a coaching staff, supporting cast and the entire organization rallying around a top five QB in order for the young player to have success as a rookie.
The 2023 No. 2 overall pick spoke about the 2023 No. 1 overall pick in the latest episode of “The Pivot” podcast. Stroud told hosts and former NFLers Ryan Clark and Channing Crowder that Young was in an unfortunate situation during his rough rookie year
it’s clear Stroud believes the Carolina Panthers didn’t do nearly enough to help Bryce Young succeed..
“In his shoes, I feel like a lot of stuff didn’t go his way, that was out of his control,” Stroud said. “You can’t make a play if somebody don’t block. You can’t make a play if somebody don’t catch a ball. And when you watch the tape, Bryce did a lot great things. He’s gonna be a great player. But it takes time.”
Young, who lost his head coach after 11 games and experienced multiple changes with his offensive coordinator, tossed for just 11 touchdowns to 10 interceptions while averaging 179.8 passing yards per game. He also had to deal with one of the worst, if not the worst receiving corps in the NFL while being sacked 62 times.
His good pal, on the other hand, thrived in Houston. Stroud averaged a league-high 273.9 passing yards a contest, made the Pro Bowl and is a favorite for the Offensive Rookie of the Year honors.
Oh, and his Texans captured the AFC South crown and won a playoff game. Bryce Young’s Carolina Panthers, on the other hand, finished at a league-worst 2-15.
CJ Stroud expanded on those points.
“I think I came into a situation where we were strugglin’, but we still had a lot of good pieces,” he added. “And Nick Caserio, our GM, brought in a lot of good vets. DeMeco [Ryans] was the perfect coach for our type of team.
“Like I said earlier, everybody’s path is different. Maybe I had a good rookie year, and Bryce is gonna have a great second year. And hopefully I do, too. But I know everything’s gonna be fine for him. And I told him, like, ‘You the one, bruh. You the one for a reason.’”