After the Chicago Bears traded the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 NFL draft to the Carolina Panthers on March 10, league insiders and casual fans alike began feeling confident that a quarterback will be taken first.
Panthers general manager Scott Fitterer confirmed it on Monday.
“We wanted to be in position to get a quarterback,” he said, according to NFL.com.
Who will the Panthers pick?
ESPN’s David Newton reported that Fitterer and head coach Frank Reich haven’t ruled out any of the top four quarterback prospects yet and are doing their due diligence.
On Wednesday, the team brass attended Ohio State’s pro day to watch C.J. Stroud. Panthers quarterback coach Josh McCown was overheard telling Stroud, “Maybe when you live in Charlotte we’ll find a court” to play HORSE.
Did #Panthers coach Josh McCown tell CJ Stroud: “Maybe when you live in Charlotte we’ll find a court.” ?— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) March 22, 2023
They also had dinner with Alabama’s Bryce Young Wednesday night, NFL Networks’ Mike Garafolo reported. Team owner Nicole Tepper was photographed hugging Young on Thursday before his pro day started.
Owner Nicole Tepper wishing Alabama QB Bryce Young luck ahead of his pro day pic.twitter.com/Y3jhDrVweM— Augusta Stone (@augustalstone) March 23, 2023
Regardless of who the Panthers select, four prospects could be taken in the first round, despite the first round being shorter after the Miami Dolphins lost their first round pick as punishment for tampering with Tom Brady and Sean Payton.
Most NFL experts expect three of the first four picks to be quarterbacks, and one expert even sees five quarterbacks going in the first round.
Young has long been the rumored No. 1 overall pick, but as of March 23, Stroud is the new favorite at DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM, Caesars and PointsBet, according to Sportsbook Review.
Aside from Young and Stroud, which quarterbacks are expected to be taken in the first round and by which teams?
Here’s a look at the top four prospects and where they’re expected to be drafted:
In his two seasons as a starter at Alabama, Young threw for 8,200 yards, 79 touchdowns and 12 interceptions, according to ESPN. The Heisman Trophy winner completed 65.9% of his passes as a starter.
One of the main concerns with Young is his size. At the combine, he was measured at 5-foot-10 1/8 inches and 204 pounds, The Associated Press reported. He did not weigh in at his pro day.
Where do NFL experts think Young will be picked?
NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah: No. 1 by the Carolina Panthers.
CBS Sports’ Pete Prisco: No. 1 by the Panthers.
Pro Football Focus: No. 1 by the Panthers.
Can't wait to watch @_bryce_young make throws like these at @AlabamaFTBL's Pro Day today 👀— NFL (@NFL) March 23, 2023
📱: NFL+ Pro Days Live https://t.co/1XYzgqp7bd pic.twitter.com/DsfHbp8AwT
After backing up Justin Fields, who now plays for the Chicago Bears, in 2020, Stroud threw for 8,123 yards, 85 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in his two seasons as a starter at Ohio State, according to ESPN. He completed 69.3% of his passes in those two seasons.
Fox Sports’ Rob Rang called Stroud the most accurate of the quarterbacks in this draft class but pointed out that he isn’t much of a scrambler.
Where do NFL experts think Stroud will be picked?
NFL.com: No. 2 by the Houston Texans.
CBS Sports: No. 2 by the Houston Texans.
Pro Football Focus: No. 3 to the Las Vegas Raiders, who trade their No. 7 and No. 100 picks to the Arizona Cardinals for the No. 3 pick in this mock draft.
The @OhioStateFB duo's record-breaking 2022 Rose Bowl performance was otherworldly 🔥🚀@CJ7STROUD: 37/46, 573 passing yards, 6 TDs@jaxon_smith1: 15 receptions, 347 yards, 3 TDs— NFL (@NFL) March 22, 2023
📺: 2023 #NFLDraft -- Starts Thursday, April 27 on NFLN/ESPN/ABC
📱: Stream on NFL+ pic.twitter.com/gpSsKbuLnj
The University of Florida’s Anthony Richardson had a losing record in his 13 games as a starter. All but one of his starts came in his sophomore season, in which he threw for 2,549 yards, 17 touchdowns and nine interceptions, according to ESPN. He completed 53.8% of his passes.
Earlier this month, Richardson got people’s attention when he compared himself to Cam Newton and Lamar Jackson at the NFL combine.
“I started calling myself Cam Jackson in 11th grade, just trying to make plays,” he said, per USA Today.
Where do NFL experts think Richardson will be picked?
NFL.com: No. 4 by the Indianapolis Colts.
CBS Sports: No. 5 by the Seattle Seahawks.
Pro Football Focus: No. 2 by the Houston Texans.
perspective on Anthony Richardson's size:— Warren Sharp (@SharpFootball) March 4, 2023
Anthony Richardson: 6'4”, 244 lbs
George Kittle: 6'4", 247 lbs
Derrick Henry: 6'3”, 247 lbs
Von Miller: 6'3”, 246 lbs
Ben Roethlisberger: 6'5”, 241 lbs
Cam Newton: 6'5”, 248 lbs pic.twitter.com/9MNW4SxyT5
In his two seasons at the University of Kentucky, Will Levis threw for 5,232 yards, 43 touchdowns and 23 interceptions, according to ESPN. He completed 65.7% of his passes as a Wildcat. Prior to transferring to Kentucky, he spent two seasons at Penn State.
As evidenced by the mock drafts below, experts are mixed on where Levis could end up. While still an option for one of the first picks, experts also see him falling to as late as No. 23 to the Minnesota Vikings in NFL.com’s Charles Davis’ mock draft.
Where do NFL experts think Levis will be picked?
NFL.com: No. 19 by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
CBS Sports: No. 4 by the Colts.
Pro Football Focus: No. 4 by the Colts.
.@UKFootball's pro day is today and all eyes will be on Will Levis 🚀— The 33rd Team (@The33rdTeamFB) March 24, 2023
Jordan Palmer breaks down the strong-armed prospect's film and why his football IQ flies under the radar
Full video » https://t.co/q2HS4hvych | @JwPalms pic.twitter.com/cdEwVrh7mv