Panthers 7-round 2023 NFL mock draft: Making moves in Round 1

(Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports) Isaiah Foskey
(Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports) Isaiah Foskey /
2 of 7
Carolina Panthers
(Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports) Anthony Richardson /

Carolina Panthers select Anthony Richardson

  • Quarterback | Florida Gators

The Carolina Panthers have been unable to fill the void left by Cam Newton since he was initially released in 2020. In this mock draft, they finally draft his replacement – a player who resembles so much to his predecessor.

Anthony Richardson is a controversial quarterback that does not need to be. He offers the tools you would love to have, displaying rare athleticism at the position to go along with great rushing ability and a high-level rocket arm that can reach every level of the field with ease.

The controversy, however, is the number of false narratives around the redshirt sophomore.

Richardson is nowhere close to being a two-year project like some make him out to be. While he did struggle in his first three games in 2022, the prospect showed continuous improvement with his upper and lower body mechanics as well as his accuracy.

Box scores don’t tell the full story, which is why the film and the context of Richardson’s situation are important. As my No. 3 quarterback in the upcoming draft, the former Florida star is more inexperienced than raw. His mental processing, pocket awareness, and navigation skills are incredible despite having only 13 starts to his name.

I would argue Richardson is one of the safer options at the position in this draft class considering his athleticism allows for a larger margin for error. He could start as a rookie. Furthermore, the former four-star high school product could open the season in Frank Reich’s offense as the team’s No. 1 option.

If Richardson hits, he could be one of the best quarterbacks at his position in a few short years.

Round No. 1 (Trade)

Carolina Panthers trade up to No. 30

With picks acquired in the trade that sent running back Christian McCaffrey to the San Francisco 49ers, Scott Fitterer and Reich agree to trade up back into the first round with the Kansas City Chiefs in exchange for pick No. 39, No. 132, and a 2024 third-round selection.

This is a move that could secure them another impactful rookie contributor in the first round. One that could help secure an area of Ejiero Evero’s defense that was ignored last offseason.