Way-too-early Carolina Panthers 3-round 2023 NFL mock draft

(Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports) Noah Sewell
(Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports) Noah Sewell /
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Carolina Panthers
(Adam Cairns/The Columbus Dispatch via IMAGN Content Services) C.J. Stroud /

812. . QB. Buckeyes . C.J. STROUD. 7. player

Carolina Panthers select C.J. Stroud

  • Quarterback | Ohio State

One thing that general manager Scott Fitterer did not do during the recent draft was part ways with much in the way of high-end capital next year. The Carolina Panthers resisted the temptation to reach for a quarterback at No. 6 overall and gave up just a third-rounder to secure the services of Matt Corral, who does have some nice traits that appear to be a good scheme fit in Ben McAdoo’s system.

However, drafting Corral where they did at No. 94 does not mean Carolina won’t take a signal-caller from what’s expected to be an exceptional class in 2023.

Fitterer has spoken about being unafraid to take multiple shots at the position if they feel it can benefit the franchise. So a lot will depend on how Corral adjusts during the first year in the pros.

In this scenario, Carolina is presented with yet another opportunity they’d find difficult to pass up. C.J. Stroud is an outstanding young talent that looks like an NFL star in the making, and there is every chance he could end up being taken No. 1 overall if everything goes well next season.

Here’s how the first six picks went before Carolina:

  1. Falcons: Will Anderson Jr. – DE (Alabama)
  2. Texans: Jaquelin Roy – DT (LSU)
  3. Lions: Jalen Carter – DT (Georgia)
  4. Seahawks: Bryce Young – QB (Alabama)
  5. Jets: Kayshon Boutte – WR (LSU)
  6. Jaguars: Arik Gilbert – TE (Georgia)

Stroud has some unbelievable intangibles and athleticism. He outshone almost every other Ohio State prospect when throwing at their recent pro day and although the program has a history of producing players under center that cannot adjust well to the next level, that should not put anyone off from drafting him high up the order.

It would be a major disappointment if the Panthers were picking at No. 7 overall next year. If this results in a change of head coach, then a new man at the helm might look for a completely different approach.