Further pointing to this draft leading off with Bryce Young, NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero notes the 2021 Heisman winner has shut down his pre-draft visit schedule (Twitter link). Players can take visits through Wednesday, but Young will halt his pre-draft meetings.
Young has completed his Panthers and Texans visits, and he also met with the Raiders. The Colts worked out Young and were believed to be planning a visit, but as we move closer to the draft, it appears Indianapolis (No. 4 overall) will be out of reach for the latest Alabama QB prospect. FanDuel now has Young a prohibitive favorite (minus-1050, via VSiN’s Femi Obebefe) to go No. 1 overall. BetMGM has Young as an even more imposing favorite, at minus-2000. C.J. Stroud and Will Levis are visiting the Panthers on Tuesday, but the Young connections overshadow those meetings.
Once linked closely to Stroud, the Panthers have been tied to Young for several days now. While recent executive polls produced a few Stroud-to-Carolina predictions, NBC Sports’ Peter King indicates he has not spoken to anyone in recent days who expects the Panthers to pass on Young at No. 1. While a report last week indicated the Panthers had not thrown in the towel on Stroud or Anthony Richardson yet — both QBs met with the team — it is difficult to ignore the signs pointing Young to Charlotte.
The Panthers have been unable to find quarterback continuity since cutting Cam Newton in March 2020, and Newton had begun a steady downhill slide since Super Bowl 50. The former MVP’s injuries accelerated that descent, and the Panthers have used six starting quarterbacks (Kyle Allen, Will Grier, Teddy Bridgewater, P.J. Walker, Sam Darnold, Baker Mayfield) since Newton’s 2019 foot injury led to his eventual release. The team that pursued Deshaun Watson for two offseasons (and passed on the likes of Justin Fields, Mac Jones and Kenny Pickett) removed all doubt about securing this draft’s top available QB by moving into the Bears’ No. 1 slot before free agency.
Young totaled 50 touchdowns (47 passing) during his Heisman campaign and grades as this year’s top prospect, per ESPN’s Scouts Inc. and NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah. His 5-foot-10, 204-pound frame injects additional risk into Carolina’s likely decision, but many staffers in the Panthers’ building are believed to back the two-year Crimson Tide starter. Barring a borderline-shocking development, Young appears poised to become the third first-round quarterback (Newton, Kerry Collins) in Panthers history.