Carolina Panthers 7-round 2023 NFL mock draft: Final countdown edition

Zack Kuntz
Zack Kuntz / Matthew OHaren-USA TODAY Sports
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Carolina Panthers
Bryce Young / Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports

Carolina Panthers select Bryce Young

  • Quarterback | Alabama Crimson Tide |
  • Round No. 1 (Pick No. 1)

Unless there is a complete shift in mindsets amongst the front office and head coach, Bryce Young is likely going to be the Carolina Panthers' pick at No. 1.

It's an exciting and special time. Carolina is finally securing the future of the franchise more than three years after releasing their star signal-caller, Cam Newton, the player they selected the last time they possessed the first overall pick 12 years ago.

Young has a playmaking skill set that you simply do not teach. He offers the football intelligence, feel, instincts, three-level accuracy, and decision-making to have success at the professional level. Sure, his arm isn't elite by any standard, though, it's good enough to layer throws to every level of the field with good placement and trajectory.

Size is going to be the biggest talking point with the 2021 Heisman Trophy winner entering the league. He will be the smallest quarterback drafted as high as he will be later this week. However, Scott Fitterer has made it a point that they can get him bigger through their nutrition program as well as strength and conditioning.

All of the concerns around Young are valid. However, it's hard to imagine someone with his football IQ, pocket awareness and mobility, accuracy, and playmaking ability failing to have any semblance of succeeding in the NFL, especially when on a team with one of the best offensive coaching staff groups in the league.

Carolina Panthers trade back from No. 39

In this mock draft, I attempted to enter the mind of Fitterer. Feeling that the Panthers could add more draft capital both this year and in 2024, I chose to trade back with Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots, the same organization Carolina chose to work with to move up for Matt Corral last year.

In this scenario, the Panthers acquire picks No. 46 and No. 76 along with a 2024 third-round selection. This might help Carolina if they wanted to trade back into the first round on next year's draft while also allowing the front office to explore more opportunities at positions of need this year.