2023 first overall pick Bryce Young finished his NFL preseason on a high note and in the process, threw his very first NFL touchdown. Late in the first quarter Friday night against the Detroit Lions, the quarterback found wideout Adam Thielen on a slant with a 16-yard dart.

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Hopefully, the first of many. The former Alabama standout was impressive in this contest, completing 7 of 12 passes for 73 yards and also ran for 21 yards on the ground. Andy Dalton took over in the second quarter.

Young is expected to be a game-changer for the Panthers in the future but it will take time. Before his final preseason outing, the signal-caller was 7 for 12 with 56 passing yards in two games. The biggest issue had been the offensive line, who struggled to protect him. But, they were better versus Detroit.

Carolina finished with a 7-10 record last year and went through a plethora of quarterbacks including Sam Darnold, Baker Mayfield, and PJ Walker. With none of them having much success, that resulted in the Panthers deciding to select Young with the top selection in April after his fantastic career in Tuscaloosa.

Heading into Week 1 with the keys to the offense, Bryce Young will next suit up in the season opener against the Atlanta Falcons. With the NFC South completely wide open in 2023, the sky is the limit for the Panthers. If Young can shine, they have a legitimate chance of winning a rather weak division. Hopefully, the quarterback can build a nice partnership with Thielen, who will be an important target.