Panthers elevate Bryce Young to No. 1 on depth chart, setting up start of Week 1

Bryce Young will take over as the No. 1 quarterback for the Panthers.  (AP Photo/Nell Redmond)

Bryce Young will take over as the No. 1 quarterback for the Panthers. (AP Photo/Nell Redmond)

The Carolina Panthers intend to start No. 1 overall pick Bryce Young immediately. The team took a big step toward that reality on Thursday, promoting Young to No. 1 on the depth chart, according to ESPN’s David Newton.

The move comes two weeks after the team began voluntary off-season training. Prior to the move, veteran Andy Dalton started each drill with the team’s first offense. With Young now elevated to the top spot on the depth chart, he will get those reps. Dalton will move into a backup role.

Panthers coach Frank Reich confirmed the change, saying, “It’s just the next step” in Young’s development. Reich praised Dalton’s performance and added that the change was about “what’s best for our team”.

It shouldn’t come as a big surprise that Young was the team’s starter in Week 1. The team drafted him with the No. 1 pick overall and unlike what other teams have done — cough cough, Chicago Bears — you don’t have to start Dalton on your promising first-round draft pick.

The Panthers haven’t hinted at the change so subtly in weeks. Even when Young was second on the depth chart, he was still getting more workout reps than Dalton. The Panthers apparently knew from the start that Young would be promoted and made sure he received as much work as possible during practices.

Bryce Young set to start Week 1 for Panthers

Expectations will be high when Young takes the field in Week 1. He was the consensus first pick in a draft with multiple early-round options at quarterback. The last quarterback the team took on No. 1 overall, Cam Newton, made an immediate impact as a rookie and ultimately led the team to the Super Bowl.

Young could take a similar path, but he finds himself in a tough spot as a rookie. Although the Panthers played better down the stretch, the team still lacks talent, especially on offense. After trading DJ Moore to the Bears, the Panthers’ receiving core is among the weakest units in the league.

Young didn’t have to set the NFL on fire in his first season. As long as he shows signs of promise in Year 1, Panthers fans can dream of his potential.

The only way for that to happen is for Young to actually get opportunities on the pitch. The Panthers will give him that chance right away.

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