Carolina Panthers 7-round 2023 NFL mock draft: BPA edition

Trenton Simpson
Trenton Simpson / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
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Carolina Panthers
C.J. Stroud / Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch / USA

Carolina Panthers draft C.J. Stroud

  • Quarterback | Ohio State Buckeyes | No. 1 overall

There isn't much separating the consensus top-two quarterbacks in this year's draft. Bryce Young and C.J. Stroud both look like Day 1 starters with supreme upside, so it's just a case of which one suits the Carolina Panthers' system best under the expert offensive guidance of Thomas Brown and Frank Reich. 

I have stated on countless occasions that there is no wrong answer between Stroud and Young. But preference is for the former Ohio State standout thanks to his size, scheme fit, and overall pocket presence. 

Stroud is arguably the best pure passer to emerge from the college ranks since Trevor Lawrence. Although the former Clemson star was the better prospect beyond doubt, there's a lot to like about the ex-Buckeye's chances of making a real go of things at the next level. 

He can make every throw with accuracy and ease. Stroud processes information well, is flexible in the pocket, and has enough athleticism to get out on the move despite not demonstrating this trait all that much in college. 

The Panthers were gushing after Stroud's throwing session at Ohio State's pro day. The body language between all parties was notable and immensely positive.

Young could easily be the pick and the wildcard that is Anthony Richardson cannot be ruled out either. But there is a growing belief that Stroud will be their pick and hopefully, can turn into the team's new long-term presence under center.