Could the Panthers gamble on Anthony Richardson’s elite traits in 2023?
By Dean Jones
Could the Carolina Panthers gamble on Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson’s elite traits when the 2023 NFL Draft rolls around?
Finding a long-term quarterback was a riddle that eventually cost Matt Rhule his job. The Carolina Panthers opted for a series of failed personnel moves rather than focusing on finding someone from the college ranks every offseason under his leadership, which proved to be the team’s undoing and something that has to change next spring.
Barring a turnaround of epic proportions, the Panthers are set to pick high in the 2023 NFL Draft. Perhaps more importantly, Carolina now has substantial capital to call upon after trading star running back Christian McCaffrey to the San Francisco 49ers before the deadline.
This opens the options for Carolina next spring. There is an obvious temptation to select a blue-chip prospect such as Bryce Young or C.J. Stroud if given the chance, but potential difference-makers on the defensive side of the football if Jalen Carter or Will Anderson Jr. are available will also be discussed.
Carolina Panthers should consider drafting Anthony Richardson in 2023
If this scenario becomes reality, the Panthers would need to widen their net. It could even see them bet on Anthony Richardson‘s elite traits given his improvement throughout the 2022 season.
Richardson is a polarizing figure. This is his first season as a full-time starter at Florida, but despite some obvious struggles the prospect possesses elements to his performance that cannot be taught.
His ability out on the move is exceptional. Richardson is also a significant dual-threat running the football, which was on further display after his explosive 60-yard touchdown run against Texas A&M last weekend.
This could lead the Panthers or someone else to take the plunge if Richardson declares for the draft as expected. His pocket awareness is improving all the time and the quarterback also has an absolute cannon that can hopefully become more accurate with additional games.
Much will depend on how Carolina’s new head coach sees things. But with Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold, and P.J. Walker all out of contract, the general consensus is that the Panthers will examine every possibility for a franchise quarterback from the college ranks.
Richardson has more upside than most. But if the Panthers went in this direction, then giving him adequate time to refine his skills is essential rather than throwing him in as the Day 1 starter.
There is still a rawness to Richardson’s overall production. His decision-making needs work and there is also a tendency to force throws rather than take what he’s given, which could become a problem against NFL defenders.
Nobody knows for sure which way Carolina plans to go. Passing on Young or Stroud would be difficult, but there is also the presence of Matt Corral to consider after the Panthers traded up for the former Ole Miss standout in 2022.
Whether it’s Richardson or someone else, the Panthers must get their next move right. The days of electrifying production when Cam Newton was the driving force are long gone and unless hope is acquired in some form under center next year, this organization will only go so far.
Richardson could be absolutely anything once he gets to the next level. However, he must also be nurtured correctly to refine his immense promise.
There’s a lot of hard work ahead for Richardson. But the notion of Carolina gambling on the signal-caller if they miss out on those further up the pecking order, is hard to ignore.