CHARLOTTE – Bryce Young took some time during the NFLPA Rookie Premiere trip to Los Angeles for advice from an NFL legend.
Young, along with fellow rookie quarterbacks C.J. Stroud, Anthony Richardson, and Will Levis, met with former NFL quarterback Tom Brady last week, and the newly retired seven-time Super Bowl winner had plenty of wisdom to impart on the group of rookies, eager to make a mark on the league as offseason programs ramp up.
"There were a lot of gems, a lot of nuggets that I was able to take away," Young said Monday after his first day of OTAs. "I was able to ask him some questions about his career, kind of his mindset going toward it. For me, obviously being a young quarterback, I wanted to know things that he wished he knew at this age and things that he felt like were key for him to have success. I think that's something that's pretty invaluable."
Young didn't dive into too many specifics around the conversation, but he shared his perspective on Brady's advice about keeping where they were drafted in perspective.
Brady, a sixth-round selection by the Patriots in the 2000 NFL draft at No. 199 overall, emphasized the most important part was what they'd do with their opportunity once they made it in the locker room and on the field. Young was the first overall selection in his draft, and the Panthers traded with the Bears from No. 9 to get him there.
"Where I was drafted doesn't entitle me to anything in this league," Young said. "I have never thrown an NFL pass in a game; I haven't done anything. I have no stats, no wins, nothing. So we're all on an even playing field. Once you get to the league, where you get drafted, that doesn't entitle me to anything. So I have to work."
Young returned to Carolina after the event and impressed head coach Frank Reich with his continued poise, control, and command of the offense – saying his rookie quarterback was a "10 out of 10."
"You could tell the way he was seeing it, the way he was working through progressions, accuracy of the throw, ball placement of the throw," Reich said. "It was all very good."
Reich said Young had taken more reps than veteran Andy Dalton in practice while he's learning and adjusting. The veteran Dalton has continued to start with the first team so that Young can watch him.
"It's really good for Bryce to see Andy handle things the way he's handling them," Reich said. "And obviously, Bryce has picked it up extremely fast. But it feels like we've got a good plan, and we're doing the right thing."
The chance to pick Brady's brain was another perk for Young as he transitions to the league, and it was one that he was sure to make the most of.
"I definitely took away a lot," Young said. "Being able to talk to one of the greatest to ever do it is a huge honor and privilege. So I was very grateful for that."
– Reich said Jeremy Chinn has continued to embrace his role in new defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero's scheme through the start of OTAs, as his versatility will likely open up more options for the him beyond nickel, opening the door for him to play closer to the line of scrimmage. He's still got a knack for making plays, as evidenced by a pass breakup near the end of practice.
Reich said it'd be "different" for Chinn this season (they brought in veteran safety Vonn Bell to start opposite Xavier Woods) and that Chinn's skill set has generated conversations about just how many things the coaching staff could expect him to do down the line.
"Everybody knows Jeremy's a really good player, but we're really excited about how he's going to fit into our scheme," Reich said. "After talking to EJ (Evero), probably (there are) maybe even more roles for him than we thought."
– Outside linebacker Brian Burns was present for the first day of OTAs as he continues to recover from offseason ankle surgery, and he has remained active in a different way.
Burns, who has been back on his feet at practice without the help of a scooter or a boot, hasn't been participating while he heals, but he has still played a leadership role. Reich commended Burns' focus and involvement with his position as coaches seek to plan a rotation along the defensive front.
"I didn't realize what a stud leader he is," Reich said. "That's what I feel from the guy. Yeah, he's vocal, and he's a very good communicator on stuff. But he's not going to say a ton, but you feel his presence, even as he's injured, when he's out on the field, how he is with guys. Really happy about that."