First-round quarterbacks can fill a team’s fanbase with great expectations and, sometimes, with great disappointment.
Carolina Panthers fans are going through that experience with rookie quarterback Bryce Young, the 2023 No. 1 draft pick overall, who looked extremely promising as the quarterback at Alabama and as a Heisman Trophy winner.
Those who watched Young as a college quarterback saw a player who was as focused and even-keeled as he was talented throwing and running. The adage about not getting too emotionally high when things went well and not getting rattled when things went awry absolutely applied to Young. It is the sort of demeanor that serves NFL quarterbacks well.
So, it is with a wait-and-see attitude that Panthers are watching the early stages of Young’s career with Carolina as the Panthers playoff chances went the way of an 1-8 start to the 2023 season.
With that in mind, BetCarolina.com – your source to the NC sportsbook promos - decided to look at the first-year performances of the most recent quarterbacks who, like Young, were top 10 draft picks back to 2019.
To keep the comparisons somewhat even, the current statistics of quarterbacks drafted in 2023 were projected for a 17-game schedule. Not included in the comparison is Indianapolis rookie QB Anthony Richardson, the No. 4 pick overall, who was injured on Oct. 8 and is out for the season with a shoulder injury.
Quarterbacks Picked Top 10 in Draft
Early Comparisons of Young and Stroud
Panthers’ fans don’t need too much reminding of Young’s first year so far under center. He is 1-7 as a starter and missed one game because of injury. Projecting his current statistics over 17 games, and they would figure to total 2,946 passing yards, a completion rate of 62.8%, with about 15 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.
It might be a little painful for Carolina fans to contrast that with the Houston Texans’ first-round QB and the No. 2 overall, C.J. Stroud, who has led surprisingly competitive Houston to a 5-4 record. Extending Stroud’s current stats through 17 games, they would be 4,960 yards, a 61.6% completion rate, 28 touchdowns, and just four interceptions.
There will not be legal North Carolina betting apps until next year. Nationally, however, BetMGM has Stroud as the runaway favorite for Offensive Rookie of the Year honors at prohibitive odds of -2000.
Looking at some extreme outcomes for quarterbacks in the category of Top 10 picks since 2019, the best performances was by the L.A. Chargers’ Justin Herbert, the No. 6 overall pick in 2020. As a rookie, Herbert lit it up with 4,336 yards, 66.6% completion rate, 31 TDs and 10 interceptions.
Perhaps, the most disappointing debut -- and subsequent outcome -- belongs to ex-San Francisco QB Trey Lance (2021, No. 3 overall), who was hampered by a knee injury in his rookie season when he threw for just 603 yards, 5 TDs and 2 interceptions. The next year, it was an ankle injury and Lance never did establish himself with the 49ers as Brock Purdy burst onto the scene. Earlier this year, Lance was traded to Dallas, where he is a backup.
For a turnaround example, Carolina fans can look to Jacksonville’s Trevor Lawrence (2021, No. 1 overall). Lawrence had people wondering his rookie year as he threw 12 TDs but 17 interceptions. However, last year, he led the Jaguars to five consecutive wins at the end of the regular season and helped engineer an improbable comeback win over Herbert’s Chargers in the playoffs.
Online North Carolina sports betting is coming in 2024. Maybe Year 2 will be much better for Bryce Young.