Carolina Panthers select QB wildcard in 2023 NFL mock draft
By Dean Jones
The Carolina Panthers went back into the quarterback pool for yet another potential long-term option in a recent 2023 NFL mock draft.
Finding the right answer at the quarterback position is a complex riddle that the Carolina Panthers have yet to solve. The team has gone through a number of options since deciding to release Cam Newton and unless someone like Baker Mayfield comes on board before the 2022 campaign, it could be a weak link once again.
Sam Darnold has proven incapable of leading an NFL franchise over his first four years in the league. He remains on the Panthers with a fully guaranteed $18.85 million coming his way, but giving him the keys to the kingdom once again is probably ill-advised.
There is hope that Matt Corral can eventually emerge into a productive starter with further adjustments. However, head coach Matt Rhule stated that the Ole Miss product has a lot of work ahead in order to achieve this objective.
Much has been made of the 2023 quarterback class, which is set to be exceptional providing there are no drop-offs in production during the upcoming college football campaign. This was a reason why teams were wary of taking someone from the recent class of 2022 and if everyone meets expectations, then it could see anywhere from 5-to-9 signal-callers selected in the first round next year.
Whether the Panthers will go back into the mix is unclear. This will be dependent on how Corral develops, but a recent mock draft examined this scenario with Carolina taking a wildcard from No. 7 overall.
Carolina Panthers select Will Levis in 2022 NFL mock draft
Zack Patraw of Sports Illustrated had the Panthers picking Will Levis, who surged up draft boards across the country during his first season with Kentucky after transferring from Penn State and has the chance to bolster his stock further in 2022.
Levis is a polarizing figure who did endure some difficult moments in his first real taste of college action within a testing SEC last season. But his arm strength is good and there could be even more to come now that there is some previous experience to call upon.
In 13 games for the Wildcats in 2021, the prospect completed 66 percent of his passes for 2,826 yards, 24 touchdowns, 13 interceptions, and a passer efficiency rating of 148.5. Levis also gained 376 yards and nine scores on the ground with a yards-per-carry average of 3.5.
Depending on what transpires next season, Levis would be a controversial selection. But one the Panthers might be willing to make if they are selecting this high once again.
Picking in the top-10 normally means somewhere in the region of 3-6 wins. Not exactly the biggest indicator that things have progressed sufficiently in the third year of Matt Rhule’s tenure and might even result in team owner David Tepper pulling the plug on this particular experiment.
There is a lot of football to be played between now and when the time comes to select the next batch of recruits from the college ranks. But it would be foolish to rule out yet another quarterback coming into the fold based on what’s transpired during a turbulent spell over the last two years.