What should Panthers make of Will Levis skipping Senior Bowl?

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

What should the Carolina Panthers make of Kentucky quarterback Will Levis skipping the 2023 Senior Bowl ahead of the NFL Draft?

This is an important stage of the off-season process for teams around the league. Major scouting events are beginning or in the not-too-distant future ahead of the 2023 NFL Draft, which provides the Carolina Panthers and others with a better indication of which prospects could thrive at the next level.

Frank Reich will now have a leading say in recruitment after becoming the Panthers’ head coach. Others such as Scott Fitterer and Dan Morgan are tasked with acquiring the right reinforcements via free agency and the draft to finally get this franchise trending on an upward curve.

One of the most polarizing prospects entering the NFL this year is Will Levis. The former Kentucky quarterback has all the intangibles most look for in productive players under center, yet his suspect production in college last season brings red flags aplenty heading into the assessment process.

Carolina Panthers must approach Will Levis assessment with caution

There are times when Levis looks like a world-beater. However, consistency remains a significant issue and it might take some time before he’s ready to assume command of an NFL team.

A huge talking point leading up to the 2023 Senior Bowl was Levis and Georgia product Stenson Bennett both skipping the event in Mobile. This is a surprising turn of events for two signal-callers who both have concerns about their professional prospects.

Levis didn’t play in his bowl game, either. The prospect is reportedly dealing with injuries that would restrict his involvement, but some perceive it as a bad look he’s not even attending talks with interested NFL teams.

Is Levis hiding something? Or is the player simply biding his time before the NFL Scouting Combine?

One could argue that Levis might also turn down the opportunity to throw at the Indianapolis showcase. So the next time anyone would see him throwing in any capacity is within the immensely structured environment of Kentucky’s pro day.

Again, this could be seen as a lack of motivation – a lack of competitiveness at an important stage of the process.

On the other hand, it could be nothing.

Levis will still get a lot of attention at any event he turns up leading into the draft. Multiple teams – the Panthers included – are on the hunt for their future franchise quarterback and many respected analysts perceive him to be the best of the bunch.

Even though a recent report suggested team owner David Tepper was enamored with C.J. Stroud out of Ohio State, due diligence alone means Levis will be examined thoroughly. But what the prospect gives as the reasoning behind skipping major pre-draft occasions will tell those in power plenty about his overall character.

Any team that drafts Levis will be banking on his NFL traits rather than proven college production. His decision-making, processing, and accuracy in key moments were constantly evident over his final college campaign, so sitting behind a veteran early on is the best possible solution unless the player’s transition goes far better than expected.

Only time will tell. But Levis could have avoided all this additional aggravation by visiting Mobile or the East/West Shrine Bowl, even if he was doing nothing more than speaking with leading front office personnel.

Whether this impacts how the Panthers look at Levis remains to be seen.

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