Panthers 7-round 2023 NFL mock draft: Post-Senior Bowl edition

(Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images) Jayden Reed
(Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images) Jayden Reed /
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Carolina Panthers
(John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports) C.J. Stroud /

Carolina Panthers select C.J. Stroud

  • Quarterback | Ohio State Buckeyes

If the Carolina Panthers find a way to get themselves into the top three, it’s likely to put them in a good spot in pursuit of finding their long-term quarterback. However, the prospect of someone striking a deal with the Chicago Bears at No. 1 overall is very real and mustn’t be overlooked.

This is already something being rumored in league circles. Many believe the Bears will trade out of the first pick for a king’s ransom, allowing them to surround Justin Fields with everything he needs ahead of a crucial third campaign under center.

Carolina needs to be wary of this and react accordingly. In this situation, C.J. Stroud is there for the taking and if it comes to fruition, the Panthers’ card should be turned in quickly.

Stroud is poised, accurate, composed, and rises to the big occasion. The stigma surrounding Ohio State quarterbacks shouldn’t put the Panthers off – especially if they use his performance against Georgia in the college football playoffs as a measuring stick.

Bringing Stroud to Carolina also gives Scott Fitterer what he’s looking for. The chance to build a competitive roster around a rookie contract.

Not only would Stroud benefit from Frank Reich’s presence as head coach. But the offensive line made major improvements last season and there is enough at the skill positions to ensure he hits the ground running as Panthers QB1.