5 draft prospects that could immediately help the Panthers in 2023

(Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images) Emmanuel Forbes
(Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images) Emmanuel Forbes /
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Carolina Panthers
(Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports) C.J. Stroud /

Carolina Panthers could draft C.J. Stroud

This is priority No. 1 for the Carolina Panthers in 2023 and it’s not even close.

They must find a franchise quarterback.

Baker Mayfield is now with the Los Angeles Rams, Sam Darnold and P.J. Walker are out of contract, and not truly knowing what they have in Matt Corral after his season-ending injury in the preseason further complicates matters.

This is the year when the Panthers have to find a viable, long-term solution. And thankfully, previous head coach Matt Rhule and his poor quarterback evaluation are no longer a problem.

Much will depend on where the Panthers end up picking, but C.J. Stroud is someone that could come in and immediately start if his transition into a professional environment goes according to plan.

The Ohio State product is far from the finished article, which isn’t unexpected. However, there is a real poise and natural progression to his overall production that will make him a hot commodity when the time comes.

Stroud’s accuracy and ability to evade pressure in the pocket are rare traits. He’s also progressed when it comes to keeping his eyes downfield and escaping the pocket, which is always a big help.

There are concerns with Stroud’s mobility when rushing yards are there for the taking. But this looks like the best prospect along with Bryce Young that Carolina could end up with, although it might be a waiting game if Steve Wilks finishes the season strongly.