Panthers named as team to watch for Will Levis draft trade in 2023

(Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports) Will Levis
(Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports) Will Levis /

The Carolina Panthers were named as a team to watch regarding a daring 2023 NFL Draft trade-up to secure quarterback Will Levis. 

Although the Carolina Panthers are still fighting with everything they have to secure the unlikeliest of divisional titles, that hasn’t stopped the early rumors from swirling about what is coming during an immensely important offseason for the franchise. This all starts with team owner David Tepper’s head coaching decision and could also include a new franchise quarterback for good measure.

Carolina’s undergone some real turmoil under center since Matt Rhule went back on his initial claims and released Cam Newton in 2020. Sam Darnold is doing well since returning to the lineup, but the limitations are obvious and this could lead the Panthers into acquiring another option should the right opportunity present itself.

It’s worth remembering that Matt Corral is the only signal-caller under contract in 2023. So the prospect of Darnold getting a short-term deal as a potential bridge cannot be ruled out if he finishes the season strongly.

However, after passing on a top-end quarterback for the last three years, they’d be wise not to do the same again. But the ongoing resurgence under Steve Wilks means those in power might have to think outside the box to get their player of choice.

One cannot see the Panthers getting within touching distance of Bryce Young or C.J. Stroud. A lot could change between now and draft night, but these two look head and shoulders above the rest based on their college production, which complicates matters.

Carolina Panthers linked with trade-up for Will Levis

Another player gaining traction regarding the Panthers’ interest is Will Levis. Many reporters are suggesting this is the prospect Tepper has his eye on, although it could be a work in progress based on a disappointing final year at Kentucky.

This is a sentiment echoed by ESPN’s draft analyst Todd McShay, who highlighted Carolina as a team to watch regarding a potential move up the pecking order to secure his services when the time comes.

"“One other thing to watch: I think the Panthers could try to get ahead of the Falcons and Colts to draft Will Levis.”"

McShay, who mocked Anthony Richardson to Carolina at No. 11 overall, is pretty clued up on this sort of thing. But there are many factors at play here and much will also depend on whether Wilks can guide his team to the NFC South crown.

There is no smoke without fire, as the old saying goes. And some analysts are even projecting Levis to be taken above Young or Stroud thanks to his supposed upside.

Levis has all the athletic intangibles normally associated with productive NFL quarterbacks. The arm strength is unbelievable and there is enough athleticism to suggest pocket maneuvering can progress significantly in the right system.

Anyone looking for Levis to come in and immediately assist will be out of luck. There’s a lot of hard work ahead for whichever team drafts him, with processing, decision-making, and making tough throws under pressure just three areas the player needs to clean up before assuming a starting job.

This would be a polarizing move from the Panthers all things considered. But there is a long way to go and plenty of football left before conclusions become formal.

For now, fans can enjoy meaningful games in December and worry about the rest later.

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