Add Cam Newton to the growing number of NFL figures who believe the Panthers should select Bryce Young with the No. 1 pick in the 2023 NFL draft.

As Carolina zeroes in on who it will select first Thursday night, Newton offered his perspective on what the franchise should do with their latest top pick, 12 years after selecting him No. 1 in 2011. The former MVP quarterback was straightforward when it came to hailing Young as the choice, as Newton praised the fellow Heisman Trophy winner’s leadership as much as his skill set.

Said Newton, ”This is how I judge quarterbacks as a whole: Everybody can throw. Everybody has talent. Everybody has upside, but the thing that everybody doesn’t have, and it’s simple, is leadership. And can you get a mother------ to follow you.

“If I’m the GM, I’m the head coach, if I’m (Panthers owner) David Tepper, I’m selecting Bryce Young.”

Newton, who notably included Young on a recent list of QBs he’d be willing to back up, also touched on the knocks the highly touted prospect has received for being perceived by some observers as undersized. Young’s height, 5’ 10”, is considered a drawback by some pundits, but Newton was quick to dismiss the idea.

“My only knock on Bryce Young is that he went to Alabama,” joked Newton, a former Auburn star who won a national title and the Heisman Trophy as a junior in 2010. “I was watching half those games from Bryce Young, and I was amazed because, not only did he have good talent, he was the best talent on a talented team.”

With the 2023 NFL draft quickly approaching, the wait to find out whom the Panthers will select is nearly over. In the event Young isn’t the pick, it seems likely that Newton will be among those with a bone to pick with Carolina.

In his 36 career games at Alabama, Young recorded 8,356 passing yards, 80 touchdown passes and 12 interceptions.