Carolina Panthers 7-round 2023 NFL mock draft: Taking chances early

(Robert Goddin-USA TODAY Sports) Luke Schoonmaker
(Robert Goddin-USA TODAY Sports) Luke Schoonmaker /
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Carolina Panthers
(Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports) Anthony Richardson /

Carolina Panthers select Anthony Richardson

  • Quarterback | Florida Gators

It’s been made evident following this season that the Carolina Panthers need a quarterback. It’s also clear that Sam Darnold is not the future of the franchise and there is a good chance that Matt Corral may not be able to get an opportunity to be a starter in the NFL.

With Bryce Young, C.J. Stroud, and Will Levis off the board, Scott Fitterer goes with the best quarterback prospect left on the board, selecting Florida’s Anthony Richardson.

The former four-star recruit is a fascinating prospect for his position. At 6-foot-4 and 232 pounds, Richardson has a rare physical and athletic profile some have not seen come through the draft process since Cam Newton, Carolina’s former franchise player under center.

Richardson is a special runner to go along with his arm talent, which might be the best in this draft class from a pure strength and velocity perspective. However, the former Gator is still raw, though he might not be as unpolished as some suggest.

Sure, Richardson still needs to be more consistent with connecting his upper and lower half mechanics together while playing with a better tempo on all three levels of the field. There are still issues with him throwing every pass like a fastball. His statistics aren’t great either.

Even so, he’s much further along than given credit for. Richardson’s pocket management and awareness skills to go along with eye manipulation and field vision as a passer flashed a ton throughout the season. Especially in the second half of the campaign where he showed tremendous growth and promise.

It might take a year for Richardson to get accustomed to the speed of the NFL. But he is a special talent with a franchise-caliber ceiling.