Panthers 7-round 2023 NFL mock draft: Blockbuster trade edition

(Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports) Cedric Tillman
(Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports) Cedric Tillman /
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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

The Carolina Panthers sit at No. 1 overall with two choices. Draft one of either C.J. Stroud, Bryce Young, and Anthony Richardson, or trade back one spot with the Houston Texans to acquire extra draft capital.

In this scenario, I stick with the current favorite to be the first player drafted.

One thing Frank Reich values in his quarterbacks is accuracy, and Stroud is arguably the most accurate player at his position in this year’s draft. He throws passes with great ball placement and trajectory, putting the right amount of velocity and pace to whichever level of the field he throws to.

Ohio State’s star signal-caller is also an incredibly smart player who understands what he sees both pre-snap and post-snap. Stroud can move defenders with his eyes and has shown the escapability and mobility that make you feel like you’re watching Joe Burrow start for the Buckeyes in an alternate reality.

The biggest concern with Stroud potentially becoming the newest signal-caller in Carolina is the lack of adequate starting talent at the skill positions for the time being. With D.J. Moore gone, free agency and the draft will be critical for Scott Fitterer to surround his chosen rookie with plenty of capable starters.

Even so, the thought of finally getting a young franchise quarterback must excite the fans and the Panthers organization. There is not a lot wrong they can do here, especially if they draft Stroud.