A strange contingency plan was rumored by Charlie Campbell of WalterFootball.com if the Carolina Panthers don’t draft a quarterback prospect in 2023.
The Carolina Panthers are clearly looking at improving their quarterback options this off-season. This is the biggest priority above all else and could make or break the team’s chances of immediate progression under new head coach Frank Reich in 2023.
Despite speaking with Derek Carr and being linked with almost every other veteran available, the primary focus for Carolina should be finding a long-term option via the 2023 NFL Draft. General manager Scott Fitterer recently stated that if the Panthers have conviction, they will go up and get their guy – although those in power need to act fast with others also reportedly planning the same.
In the unlikely event, Carolina doesn’t emerge from the draft with a franchise signal-caller they can build around long-term, a contingency plan needs to be put in place. Perhaps an elite edge rusher, trading back for more picks, or even reaching for a shutdown cornerback could enter the equation.
Carolina Panthers rumored to have interest in Bijan Robinson
However. a recent report from Charlie Campbell of WalterFootball.com stated citing sources that the Panthers might have something else in mind. Former Texas running back Bijan Robinson, to be precise.
"“Given that history and inclination, (David) Tepper might be skeptical to use the No. 9 pick of the 2023 NFL Draft on a running back. However, multiple sources with Carolina (Panthers) say they love (Bijan) Robinson and that if the team somehow don’t take a quarterback in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft, Robinson would be a top target for the franchise.”"
I’m not dismissing Campbell’s claims, it’s something he might have heard along the grapevine. But it makes absolutely no sense on multiple fronts.
Robinson is far and away the best running back in this class and is arguably the most talented prospect entering the NFL this year. However, the Panthers have just got rid of Christian McCaffrey, so why spend another high-end draft selection on a running back when there are far more pressing needs to solve first?
That’s notwithstanding Fitterer’s comments during the NFL Scouting Combine about wanting to retain D’Onta Foreman, who came of age in Carolina last season when extra responsibilities. Something that was also mentioned by Reich, who was complimentary of the player and hoped something would get worked out.
Also, there can be no more half-measures at football’s most important position. The time to strike is now and if that means sacrificing significant draft capital, so be it.
Robinson is a supreme talent and should be an immediate NFL star. But simply put, he is a luxury the Panthers cannot afford and this report shouldn’t hold much weight when push comes to shove.
It won’t be much longer before fans find out what the Panthers’ true intentions are. They won’t want to be caught short in the trade-up sweepstakes, so getting something concrete into their plans and striking with conviction soon is of critical importance.
As for Robinson, the positional value might see him fall slightly. But a contender with very few needs would jump at the chance to bring him on board.
That just won’t be Carolina.