Reasons The Carolina Panthers WILL Make Playoffs
No. 1: Bryce Young Is A Proven Winner
As we touched on briefly in the opening, Bryce Young is as polished of a prospect as we have ever seen coming out of college. His lack of size is a deterrent, but very few times did this issue pop up on his Alabama tape.
Thanks to his impeccable football mind, Young knows how to mitigate the damage done by his lack of size. He makes up for it with droves of arm talent and poise in crunch time that none of his peers can match.
Everywhere Young has been, he has won football games. Expect more of the same in Year 1 with Frank Reich tailoring the offense to his new superstar quarterback. Young is a front-runner to be Offensive Rookie of the Year, and it shouldn’t surprise anyone if he is still playing late in January.
No. 2: Another Year Of Development For The Youngsters On The Roster
Usually, when a team owns the top pick at the NFL Draft, they also own a roster full of holes. However, Carolina traded up from No. 9 overall, showcasing that the roster is not devoid of talent.
The offensive line is sneaky good, and considering how young the unit is as a whole, it is fair to assume another step in development in 2023. Last year’s first-round pick Ikem Ekwonu is especially intriguing, as he showed flashes of an All-Pro blocker on the blindside as a rookie.
The defense has a handful of pillars to build around, led by superstar pass rusher Brian Burns. Elsewhere on the defensive line, Derrick Brown mans the middle and eats up attention from the interior. The Panthers’ first-rounder from 2021, Jaycee Horn, is another player oozing potential, but the gifted cornerback must stay healthy to ever reach his ceiling.
Most key contributors are south of 27 years old, opening the door to continuous improvement throughout the year. If some of these youngsters develop quickly, the Panthers may find themselves in playoff contention all the way down to the final week of the season.
No. 3: Frank Reich’s Track Record Of Regular Season Success
Simply put, Frank Reich knows how to win football games in the regular season. Now, strictly looking at his win-loss total in Indy can paint a different image, but I assure you Reich made the most of what he had at his disposal.
The second-time head coach enters 2023 with a clean slate and a long-term answer at quarterback for the first time in his coaching career. Stability behind center should go a long way toward being competitive; it’s up to Reich and Young to elevate the unit enough to contend. And it is a fool’s mission to bet against these two.