Panthers brass joined other front offices in being wowed by Bryce Young during his 2021 Heisman-winning season, and the team had mostly decided on the Alabama prospect by the time Frank Reich arrived. David Tepper and Panthers scouts had zeroed in on Young — prior to making the trade with the Bears — and Reich learned of the staff’s preference early during his tenure.
“And it was unanimous with every guy in that room, starting from [GM] Scott [Fitterer] on down, that Bryce was the guy. That was great for me to hear,” Reich said of an early-February meeting, via The Athletic’s Joe Person (subscription required). “But what I appreciate about the way Scott handled it, he was like, ‘Frank, you take your time.’ … And it wasn’t much convincing.”
Fitterer said he sought Reich’s final stance late in the process. It would have been interesting had Reich, who was initially mentioned as preferring a taller passer, stood his ground for another prospect. He was believed to also be intrigued by Anthony Richardson. But the veteran HC will be coaching a 5-foot-10 quarterback in Carolina.
Here is the latest from the draft, as we head into Day 2:
- The Vikings closed the record-breaking run on wide receivers at No. 23, selecting Jordan Addison, the fourth straight receiver taken from Nos. 20-23. But Minnesota received interest in the pick. The Chiefs and Saints contacted the Vikings about moving up to 23, per KTSP’s Darren Wolfson, who adds the belief is at least one of the teams eyeing a trade-up would have taken the USC wide receiver (Twitter link). The Vikings appear to have received an offer, but they instead chose Addison. The Chiefs were mentioned as a team pursuing a move up the board, and the defending Super Bowl champions — after J.J. Smith-Schuster and Mecole Hardman‘s exits — had done a lot of work on this year’s wideout class. The Saints have not re-signed Jarvis Landry and have not seen much of a healthy Michael Thomas since the 2010s. Both teams will probably be on the hunt for receivers tonight.
- It is not surprising to see Patriots first-round trade-downs, and the team allowing the Steelers to leapfrog the Jets for tackle Broderick Jones likely made the move doubly intriguing for Bill Belichick. But the Pats turned in their draft card quickly at No. 17, selecting cornerback Christian Gonzalez. New England was high enough on the Oregon product it was close to finalizing a trade-up move from No. 14, Jeff Howe of The Athletic tweets. The Commanders had been in on corners, but they chose Mississippi State ballhawk Emmanuel Forbes over Gonzalez at No. 16.
- While the Patriots have been praised for nabbing a high-end prospect a bit later than he was expected to go, the Lions bucked pre-draft rankings by taking a running back (Jahmyr Gibbs) at No. 12 and an off-ball linebacker (Jack Campbell) at 18. Campbell, in particular, was not viewed as especially likely to be a first-round pick, and GM Brad Holmes admitted he probably could have nabbed the Iowa defender if he had traded down once again. “It’s not about just don’t pick a running back [in Round 1] because that’s not how we really view [Gibbs],” Holmes said, via the Detroit Free Press’ Dave Birkett. “And then it’s the same thing about don’t pick an off-ball linebacker. That’s not really how we view Jack. If you put them in boxes and you put on a sheet of paper and you run mock draft analytics, yeah, you can come up with those stats. But all the hours and research and all the time that we put in, in terms of looking at these players, it becomes very, very visible that what kind of impact they can bring.”