Carolina Panthers 7-round 2023 NFL mock draft: Starting over edition

(Adam Cairns/The Columbus Dispatch via IMAGN Content Services) C.J. Stroud
(Adam Cairns/The Columbus Dispatch via IMAGN Content Services) C.J. Stroud /
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Carolina Panthers
(Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports) C.J. Stroud /

Carolina Panthers select C.J. Stroud

  • Quarterback | Ohio State

Baker Mayfield’s trade from the Cleveland Browns hasn’t worked out. The quarterback seems lost within Ben McAdoo’s scheme and a high ankle sprain is likely to keep him on the sidelines at the Los Angeles Rams in Week 6 to begin the Steve Wilks era.

With Sam Darnold and P.J. Walker also out of contract, the Carolina Panthers must do something to address the quarterback position. They did draft Matt Corral in 2022, but a new coach might have a completely different view of the Ole Miss product and with the first pick, the franchise won’t get a better opportunity to select a blue-chip prospect from the college ranks.

That seems harsh on Corral, but the NFL is a ruthless business and C.J. Stroud has all the intangibles needed to end the stigma surrounding Ohio State signal-callers at the next level.

Stroud has the poise, decision-making, and accuracy that catches the eye consistently. He is among the leading contenders for this year’s Heisman Trophy and might be the answer to Carolina’s prayers.

Through six games, the prospect has completed 70.6 percent of his passes for 1,737 yards, 24 touchdowns, three interceptions, and an outstanding passer efficiency rating of 207.6. Stroud isn’t classed as a dual-threat quarterback, but his elusiveness thanks to outstanding footwork in the pocket looks NFL-ready in no uncertain terms.

After Matt Rhule couldn’t come up with the right solution under center, this seems like a no-brainer. It also gives Carolina a potential franchise player on a rookie contract to build around.