Two teams that are in a full rebuild mode both take quarterbacks at the top of the 2023 NFL Draft: 2021 Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young heads to the Carolina Panthers, while Ohio State’s CJ Stroud is off to the Houston Texans.
But who will have the better rookie season in 2023? And which is likely to walk into a better situation immediately?
Stroud heads to one of the more difficult situations in the game, with a team that could just say “everything” when asked what their needs are in this draft. After limping to a 3-13-1 finish, there’s not a lot of talent for a quarterback to work with at this point.
No offense to Robert Woods, Nico Collins, and Noah Brown, but they haven’t exactly set the world on fire thus far. The NFL’s 31st-ranked offense was also 31st on third down and 30th in turnovers allowed. They did plenty to sure up their issues on the other side of the ball by moving up to take Alabama’s Will Anderson Jr., but that’s not going to help protect Stroud in the pocket during his first pro campaign.
But Young might have the best of it at least early on with his Panthers team that was 7-10 last year, and while not exactly dominant, they were 20th in points scored last season while starting Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold, and P.J. Walker. Those three combined for 16 touchdowns and 13 interceptions while playing in the crib class known as the NFC South.
The Viking’s Adam Thielen gives him a quality receiving target immediately, and with some high-upside running backs in Miles Sanders and Chuba Hubbard he could see defenses that will be forced to show more balance and respect both the run and pass game.
Which will have the better NFL career? That’s in the eye of the beholder. But for the 2023 season, you’ll likely see Young over Stroud on the DraftKings Sportsbook odds board when those numbers are released for the 2023 NFL Rookie of the Year.