CHARLOTTE – Bryce Young set the tone on his first day in a Carolina helmet. And he got an early start.
The Panthers' first overall quarterback made it to the practice field at the Atrium Health Dome ahead of schedule for his first day of rookie minicamp. He wanted to be prepared, focused on making a solid first impression, and honestly, he was happy to be here.
"This is a huge day for me," Young said. "This is my first day of practice, which was a lot of fun. I wanted to set the tone. I was just here trying to get stuff down, like we all were. We talked about it a lot as a team, being prepared. … I just want to do everything I can to have a good first day and hopefully keep stacking them."
These earliest days of practice (and Friday was just day one of rookie minicamp) are a time to evaluate, start building chemistry, and get to know the coaches and playbook. Head coach Frank Reich said three tenants around Young – "decision making, timing, and accuracy" will continue to be points of consideration throughout the early part of his career.
The Panthers' rookie quarterback is already making a solid first impression.
"Mentally and physically, (he) looked the part in every way," Reich said. "Threw the ball exceedingly well. You could tell he was in a good space mentally, really had a firm grasp on everything we asked."
Young brought the skillset and the attitude Reich wanted to see from the quarterback the Panthers drafted first overall. He said he watched Young do everything right for the first day of rookie minicamp, from short throws in the flat to bubble screen passes, admitting he "just showed complete command."
Reich said he already senses early chemistry between Young and wide receiver Jonathan Mingo, the Panthers' second-round pick. The two played against each other in college (Young's Alabama and Mingo's Mississippi are both in the SEC West) and have taken the time to communicate since being drafted by Carolina.
"He's just very poised, relaxed, smooth," Mingo said. "He doesn't think too much; he just goes out there and has fun. He's got (a) nice touch to his ball, relaxed. Nice spin. (It's) just fun playing with Bryce."
Aside from his positive individual day, Young also showed some early leadership qualities at rookie minicamp.
"I thought Bryce did not only a good job with himself, but really just commanding the huddle," Reich said. "Keeping everybody loose, keeping everybody dialed into what we were doing."
Young's nature keeps him grounded through the praise and the pressure.
He stood in front of reporters after his first practice as a Panther, expressed gratitude for coaches and how they communicate, and maintained a mature outlook on the learning process.
"There's still obviously a lot more about the playbook I want to learn," Young said. "I want to get to the point to where I have it mastered. … I'm going to stay in my playbook and keep trying to get better, day in and day out. But (I) also understand it's day one of rookie minicamp. It's a day-by-day process; we talk about it a lot as a team. Today was a good day."
View photos from the Panthers' first day of rookie minicamp on Friday.