Carolina Panthers head coach Frank Reich said Wednesday that he has no regrets in drafting quarterback Bryce Young first overall over C.J. Stroud, who ended up going to the Houston Texans at No. 2.
Young and Stroud face off for the first time in the NFL on Sunday when the Panthers host the Texans.
“We got the guy we wanted to get and couldn’t be happier about that in every way,” Reich said, per Joe Person of The Athletic. “I’m happy for C.J. He’s had six good games, and I have no doubt he’ll have many more good games. But I know this: When it comes to evaluating quarterbacks or any position, it’s years, not weeks. You can’t put a label on a guy after six weeks or even a year.”
Reich was reportedly leaning toward Stroud in the pre-draft process before Panthers general manager Scott Fitterer and his staff decided to take Young. Carolina originally had the No. 9 overall pick but eventually moved up to No. 1 after a blockbuster March trade with the Chicago Bears.
“My eyes and our eyes were on Bryce from start to finish,” Reich said Wednesday when asked about the situation.
The beginning of Young’s and Stroud’s pro careers have been polar opposites. The Panthers rookie, who missed one contest due to an ankle injury, has yet to win a game and has tossed 867 yards and six touchdowns against four interceptions. Meanwhile, Stroud is the front-runner for Offensive Rookie of the Year after passing for 1,660 yards and nine touchdowns to one pick through six starts. Houston is 3-3 in 2023.
Young and Stroud headlined a 2023 quarterback draft class that featured three first-round QBs, as the Indianapolis Colts selected Anthony Richardson fourth overall. Richardson was recently ruled out for the remainder of the season with a shoulder injury.