Panthers 7-round 2023 NFL mock draft: A surprise selection at No. 1

D.J. Turner
D.J. Turner / Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
2 of 7
Carolina Panthers
Anthony Richardson / Doug Engle / USA TODAY NETWORK

Carolina Panthers draft Anthony Richardson

  • Quarterback | Florida Gators
  • Round No. 1 (Pick No. 1)

I know this will likely anger some Carolina Panthers fans, including the ones that are big supporters of Bryce Young and C.J. Stroud. But hear me out first. Anthony Richardson is a fascinating quarterback prospect. There are plenty of good and bad things when watching his tape.

A former four-star high school recruit, Richardson is the most athletic quarterback to come through the draft, arguably, ever. He has a terrific arm, amazing pocket awareness, outstanding navigation skills, and does a great job of manipulating defenders.

Even so, he is incredibly inconsistent in terms of accuracy, upper and lower-half mechanics, and throwing with better tempo and pace. Furthermore, Richardson is inexperienced with just 13 starts to his name. There is plenty to work on, though, I believe he can start early in his rookie campaign.

Richardson has shown to be a fast learner with a good work ethic and demonstrated an upward progression toward the end of his redshirt-sophomore season at Florida. Because of his current skill set, his margin for error is large, and with a play-caller like Frank Reich, the prospect can impact the game in a positive way with his arm talent, elite athleticism, and mobility.

I know there will be fans that will say Richardson was a terrible quarterback at Florida and needs two years to develop into a potentially "good" starter. I don't believe that to be true, and his tape throughout the season shows that.

While I would prefer Stroud or Young at No. 1, I have very little issue with the idea of drafting the former Gator at that spot.