After Bryce Young was selected as the latest franchise centerpiece for the Carolina Panthers, he will be expected to compete with veteran Andy Dalton for the starting quarterback position and for the opportunity to improve the Panthers playoff chances as they seek their first postseason since 2017.
With the recent hiring of head coach Frank Reich, assistant Jim Caldwell, and former journeyman NFL quarterback Josh McCown, the Panthers committed to offseason moves that not only indicate a fresh start, but also provide a veteran offensive staff to support Young.
In the Tar Heel state, where legislation for North Carolina sports betting apps continues to develop, fans look forward to the odds of the Panthers ending their five-year playoff drought, especially being in one of the NFL’s weakest divisions.
Currently, national sportsbooks are offering +175 odds for the Panthers to make the 2023 NFL Playoffs and +330 to win the NFC South.
With the No. 1 overall pick challenging Dalton for the starting quarterback job heading into training camp, BetCarolina.com dug into recent NFL history to see how many rookie QBs have taken their team to the playoffs, and whether Young can become the latest. While several rookies have started playoff games in recent years, we only looked at rookie QBs that made a minimum of 5 regular season starts.
Last Five Rookie QBs to Reach Playoffs
2022: 49ers’ Brock Purdy
Last year’s ‘Mr. Irrelevant’ was far from irrelevancy. The Iowa State product led an injury-plagued 49ers team to the NFC Conference Championship game, falling to the eventual winner, the Philadelphia Eagles. Purdy only took over the 49ers’ final five games of the regular season, so we won't give him as much credit as a 2016 Dak Prescott. But he won all those regular season contests and started the team’s three playoff games, finishing 2-1.
Overall, Purdy’s strong rookie campaign likely earned him the starting quarterback job once he fully recovers from a UCL injury suffered in that Eagles playoff loss. A healthy 49ers team, coupled with a rising star in Purdy, would be a serious threat to the Panthers Super Bowl Odds.
2021: Patriots’ Mac Jones
The New England Patriots appeared to solve their post-Tom Brady quarterback dilemma when they selected Mac Jones with the 15th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. Jones immediately earned the starting role for the team’s 2021 season over former MVP Cam Newton. Jones’ dependable production during his rookie campaign led to a 10-7 record and a Wild Card appearance, losing to division rival Buffalo Bills.
While Jones' took a step back in Year 2 without offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, his rookie season still gives the Pats brass confidence he can be a more than productive NFL starter.
2018: Ravens’ Lamar Jackson
Now the sport’s highest-paid player, Lamar Jackson’s start to his NFL career was an unforeseeable one. Selected as the 32nd overall pick in the 2018 NFL draft, Jackson’s career took off in the team’s final seven games of the regular season, closing with a 6-1 record. Jackson rescued the season after Joe Flacco’s early struggles, leading the team to a losing Wild Card appearance against the Chargers. Since then, he is the youngest quarterback to ever start a playoff game, win an MVP and garner multiple Pro Bowl selections.
2016: Cowboys’ Dak Prescott
The former fourth-rounder in the 2016 NFL Draft, Prescott’s record-setting rookie campaign helped the Dallas Cowboys secure a 13-3 record with the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoffs, eventually losing in heartbreaking fashion against the Green Bay Packers that year. Prescott has cemented himself as a reliable, consistent starter for America’s team while earning a rich payday.
2012: Seahawks' Russell Wilson
A future first-ballot Hall of Famer, Russell Wilson, along with Brock Purdy, are the only rookie quarterbacks to win an NFL playoff game on this list. Wilson entered the team as a third-rounder in the 2012 NFL Draft, leading the Seahawks to an 11-5 record and a win over the then-Washington Redskins that postseason.
Bryce Young and the 2023 Season
If the Panthers break their five-year playoff drought with Young at their forefront, he will be joining an illustrious list of some of the most recent memorable NFL rookie quarterback seasons ever.
Young’s combination of threatening legs, an accurate arm and excellent football IQ should suit the modern game and potentially help him join this illustrious list.
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