CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WTVD) -- After months of speculation and anticipation, the Carolina Panthers made the pick they desperately needed and landed the consensus best quarterback in college football.
On Thursday, the Panthers selected Alabama signal-caller Bryce Young with the No, 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft.
He becomes the first Alabama player selected No. 1 overall since Harry Gilmer in 1948.
Carolina Panthers new QB Bryce Young speaks on GMA
"It's a dream come true," Young said. "I'm blessed. I want to thank God for allowing me to be here.''
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At a rainy, draft night party at Bank of America Stadium, Panthers owner David Tepper was asked in front of fans what the addition of Young means to the organization.
He replied, "What I want to say - Super Bowls."
Tepper's wife, Nicole, added, "We have our guy."
Charlotte has been searching for a franchise quarterback since the decline of Cam Newton. Starting in the 2019 season, seven different quarterbacks, including Newton, have started games for the Panthers.
But now, it appears the team has steadied the ship and found a field general who can lead the team for years to come.
Later, Tepper doubled down, with the multi-billionaire hedge fund owner who deals in probabilities and trades on a daily basis saying in a news conference "There is no sure thing here, but it's a probability sort of (thing). And we thought he has the best probability of winning Super Bowls."
Young was 30-4 as a starter during three seasons with the Crimson Tide, throwing for 8,356 yards with 80 touchdowns and only 12 interceptions. He won the Heisman Trophy in 2021 after tossing 47 TD passes and helping Alabama go 13-2 and reach the College Football Playoff national championship game.
"The quarterback we are getting has been a winner forever," coach Frank Reich said. "This guy is a winner. He has been a winner on the field, but he wins off the field as well. He's our kind of guy. Make no mistake about it, we got the best quarterback in college football right here in this stadium."
There are no guarantees of course, and critics have worried about Young's stature and whether the 5-foot-10, 204-pound quarterback can withstand the pounding of NFL defenses.
Young is just the third quarterback since the merger shorter than 6 feet to be selected in the first round, joining Kyler Murray and Johnny Manziel.
But the Panthers have said they don't have any reservations about his stature, noting he only had two passes batted down at the line of scrimmage last season.
"I'm myself, I know who I am, I'm confident in my abilities," Young told a group of reporters at an NFL Play 60 function Wednesday. "For me, I don't know how to play the game another way. I've been this size relative to the people around me for my entire life. ... I can't grow. I can't get any taller."
Young, the 2021 Heisman Trophy winner, has shown enormous composure on the field. An adept scrambler with excellent field vision and accuracy, he's been very good at avoiding excessive hits.
Young knows there will be pressure on him to win, but that doesn't seem to faze him.
"Whenever there's a pressure situation, I look at that as an opportunity," Young said when asked about Tepper's comments. "It's fun to be in those situations. That's what we all dream of."
The Panthers traded four picks, including No. 9 overall and a first-rounder next year, along with wide receiver DJ Moore to give new coach Frank Reich a quarterback to build around.
The Panthers are just 29-53 over the past five seasons and have yet to make the postseason since David Tepper purchased the team for a then-NFL record $2.3 billion in 2018, leaving the league's second-wealthiest owner craving a playoff contender.
Young has shown he can win games and comes to Carolina with a reputation for being a high-IQ quarterback who excels at making fast decisions. Young has mostly succeeded as a pocket passer, but can also make plays on the run.
It's unclear whether Young will start right away.
Coach Frank Reich said prior to the draft that the decision to start a rookie quarterback would largely depend on how fast he develops and gets a grasp of the system. The Panthers signed veteran Andy Dalton as a stop-gap until Young is ready.
"We have a great coaching staff," Reich said. "... That is what it takes. At the end of the day, this day is about the players but we are proud of this coaching staff."
The next focus for the Panthers will be to ensure they build an offensive line to adequately protect their young QB.
The Associated Press contributed.