The Carolina Panthers have elevated rookie Bryce Young to the No. 1 quarterback spot, a move coach Frank Reich said Thursday is “the next step” in the top pick of this year’s draft becoming the Week 1 starter.

While Young, as planned, had gotten more reps than veteran Andy Dalton with the first team during the first two weeks of voluntary offseason workouts, Dalton was listed as the starter and began each drill with the first unit.

That changed this week as the 2021 Heisman Trophy winner continued to show he had earned the respect of teammates and performed at a level worthy of getting first-team reps.

“It’s just the next step,” Reich said. “We had a couple of weeks to watch Andy. Andy has continued to perform at a very high level. We’re just trying to get our team ready. Everything is about what’s best for our team, and so this was just the next step.”

Reich said that 5-foot-10, 204-pound Young will continue to get the first-team reps during next week’s three-day mandatory camp and that Dalton will continue to work with the second team.

He noted this was the timeline he and general manager Scott Fitterer mapped out for the move after making Young the top pick.

Wide receiver DJ Chark, who was on the receiving end of one of Young’s patented deep passes Thursday, said Young has been “fantastic” and has earned the respect of “everyone in the locker room.”

“Everybody is here for him,” Chark said. “And we believe he can take us to some really high places.”

Chark said the way the organization has surrounded Young with a veteran offensive line, brought in proven offensive weapons such as himself and put him with a veteran coaching staff has made this “a match made in heaven for [Young].”

Young said being elevated to No. 1 won’t change his approach, which has been to go out each day and get better and earn the respect of teammates.