Signs are showing Carolina Panthers leaning toward Alabama’s Bryce Young as their first pick in the NFL Draft

Signs point toward union of Alabama QB Bryce Young, Panthers
from Jordan Epp, with

When the Carolina Panthers moved multiple picks to acquire the No. 1 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft from the Chicago Bears on March 10, it was seen as a given that they would take Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud first overall. With a couple weeks left until the Panthers have to run that card in, the signs now seem to be pointing toward Alabama’s Bryce Young instead.

On Monday, Tom Pelissero of NFL Network reported that Young was canceling his remaining pre-draft visits he had scheduled. The former Crimson Tide football player already met with both the Panthers, who select first, and the Houston Texans, who draft second.

The move was a sign of confidence that both Young and his team believed he would be the Panthers’ selection at the top of the first round, according to Pelissero.

This falls in line with recent comments from Adam Schefter of ESPN, who said that Young’s visit with the Texans was a “waste of time” and that the “ship has sailed.”

Houston has been heavily connected to Young throughout the offseason and it’s believed that he is their top priority in the draft. These recent changes could force the Texans to re-evaluate their process with the No. 2 pick.

Matt Miller of ESPN said that the Texans are not sold on any of the other quarterbacks in the NFL Draft, but that Houston does like Alabama edge rusher Will Anderson as a prospect.

This could put Houston in a scenario where they have to weigh the decision of drafting Anderson second overall or trading the pick to a QB-hungry team interested in either Stroud, Florida’s Anthony Richardson or Kentucky’s Will Levis.

If Young to the Panthers is viewed as a likely scenario across the league, that could also give reasoning to Texans’ general manager Nick Caserio admitting on Monday that Houston is listening to calls for their spot.

Caserio said that the Texans received calls from a few teams, and Lance Zierlein of said that the Texans want to trade out of their No. 2 pick.

With the growing belief that the Texans, whose main interest was Young, are shopping the No. 2 selection, it only gives more weight to the belief that the Panthers may take him first overall in late April. The Texans, who had been hoping Young would fall to them, may be reassessing their options at the top of the draft.

The betting markets indicate this shift as well, as DraftKings Sportsbook moved Young’s odds to be selected with the first pick. On March 10, Young was +200 to go No. 1, on April 10 he was -120 and on April 17 he is -1000.

Whether the Texans trade down or take Anderson second overall, it appears it is time to start mock drafts with Young going to the Panthers.