The Carolina Panthers are thrilled with the progress that Bryce Young has made since the team took him with the No. 1 overall pick in April’s draft out of Alabama after the Cats traded up from No. 9 overall with Chicago to get the pick. However, history says to fade Carolina in Week 1 at Atlanta as the last 14 No. 1 overall pick quarterbacks like Young are 0-13-1 straight up in their first career start (0-2 ATS in past two). The Panthers are 3.5-point underdogs.
That tie was courtesy of Arizona’s Kyler Murray in 2019 when the Cardinals rallied from down 24-6 in the fourth quarter to tie Detroit 27-all. The last top pick QB to win in his debut was David Carr in 2002 with Houston, a team that would finish 4-12. Carr ended up as a bust in large part because he took such a beating in those early years behind bad Texans offensive lines.
The only previous time #KeepPounding had the No. 1 overall pick was in 2011 when it took another former Heisman Trophy-winning QB from an Alabama school: Cam Newton from Auburn. Newton lost his Week 1 start 28-21 at home to Arizona but was dazzling with 422 yards passing (most by any QB in NFL history in his debut) and two scores and a rushing TD.
Overall since the 1970 merger, rookie No. 1 overall QBs starting in Week 1 are 3-13-1, averaging 203.5 passing yards per game and only 51.7% completions with 28 combined TD passes and 19 picks.
New Panthers QB Frank Reich will have a different starting QB for a sixth straight season as a head coach dating to his Colts days. The only other head coach to have a different starting QB in his team’s first game of the season for six straight seasons was Lou Saban from 1968-73 (1968-71 w/ Broncos, 1972-73 Bills).
Atlanta QB Desmond Ridder started the final four games last season and threw 115 passes without a pick, the longest streak by a rookie in the Super Bowl era. The jury is still very much out on the 2022 third-round pick. The #DirtyBirds were a very run heavy team in 2022 and should be even more so this year after drafting Texas running back Bijan Robinson at No. 8 overall. He is the +275 favorite for Offensive Rookie of the Year and Young next at +500.
Carolina is 3-0 ATS in its past three in Atlanta. The Falcons are 1-6 SU & ATS in their past last 7 Week 1 games.