Both of Young's top receivers, Adam Thielen and DJ Chark, were on the injury report this week. Chark sustained a hamstring injury a few weeks ago and is officially out for game one, via Tom Pelissero of NFL Network. Thielen is nursing an ankle injury and is questionable for Sunday. Both Thielen and Chark returned to practice Friday after missing it on Thursday.
#Panthers WR DJ Chark (hamstring) is out for Sunday's opener vs. Atlanta. WR Adam Thielen (ankle) is questionable.
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) September 8, 2023
Though Chark is out, Young will seriously hope Thielen is available for his debut game. Thielen signed with the Panthers during free agency after spending nine seasons with the Minnesota Vikings to provide a veteran, reliable target for Young. Thielen may have slowed down his production the past couple seasons as he continues into his 30s, but he will make a perfect security blanket for Young. Thielen and Young showed that they have already have formed a connection when the rookie threw his first ever NFL touchdown to Thielen in their preseason game versus the Detroit Lions.
If Adam Thielen can't go Sunday, the No. 1 overall pick will have to rely on Laviska Shenault Jr., Terrace Marshall Jr., Jonathan Mingo as his top receiving targets. This will certainly not be ideal for Young, who will try to get his first season off on the right foot. It will be much easier to do so if he has proven targets to throw to.