Who were the big winners from what could end up being a franchise-changing 2023 NFL Draft for the Carolina Panthers and its fanbase?
All eyes were on the Carolina Panthers nationally for arguably the first time since the team was in legitimate Super Bowl contention. Trading for the No. 1 overall selection in the 2023 NFL Draft was the primary reason, which was an aggressive move to control their own destiny and land the franchise quarterback of their choosing.
The Panthers had someone in mind when they went up and Bryce Young did nothing to alter their thought process. Much has been made about the durability concerns, but Frank Reich wanted a playmaker, and based on the tape, this was the consensus pick between influential figures.
Carolina had four other picks after trading one to move up again, this time for edge rusher D.J. Johnson. While some players will be nervously looking over their shoulders as a result, others might have gotten some extra confidence from the Panthers' choices in direction.
That said, here are four big winners from the Panthers' draft in 2023.
Winner No. 1
Scott Fitterer - Carolina Panthers GM
After having to sit behind Matt Rhule and allow the former head coach to run the Carolina Panthers into the ground, general manager Scott Fitterer got his wish. That was to draft and develop a rookie quarterback, build other positional groups, and work around a cheap contract at football's most prestigious position.
This is something Fitterer preached from the moment he got into the building. With Rhule no longer holding the Panthers back, the front office figure is putting the foundations in place for sustainable success.
If Bryce Young doesn't work out, it's a different story. But for now, Fitterer deserves nothing but praise for how he approached the entire process.