Carolina Panthers land dream picks in CBS Sports three-round mock draft

C.J. Stroud
C.J. Stroud / Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch / USA

The Carolina Panthers landed some exceptional prospects in the latest three-round 2023 NFL mock draft published by CBS Sports.

We are rapidly approaching an end to all the speculation and rumors surrounding the 2023 NFL Draft. This will come as merciful relief to most Carolina Panthers fans, who've spent large periods of their day arguing about which quarterback the team should take once their trade to No. 1 overall was confirmed. 

The Panthers are trying to keep everyone guessing. There are sportsbooks and TV ratings to think about in the modern-day, but this also ensures the rumor mill continues to churn surrounding the top three prospects at the position emerging from the college ranks. 

Although Will Levis hasn't been ruled out entirely, the choice is likely between C.J. Stroud, Bryce Young, or Anthony Richardson. A difficult dilemma for those in power, but it's a nice problem to have after so much inept production under center in recent years. 

Everyone has their favorite. Their preference. Their next franchise signal-caller that can provide genuine hope better fortunes are on the way. 

Even if the Panthers haven't determined their pick one way or another as yet. 

Carolina Panthers draft C.J. Stroud in CBS Sports mock

If the scenario presented by Josh Edwards of CBS Sports in his latest three-round mock draft came to fruition, it might represent the best-case scenario. One that started with the organization making Stroud their No. 1 overall pick.

"Carolina stays put at No. 1 overall and selects the top quarterback on its board. In this scenario, it is C.J. Stroud, who followed up a strong NFL Combine with a strong Pro Day performance."

Josh Edwards, CBS Sports

Stroud would be a great choice. Momentum continues to build around Young and Richardson remains a wildcard, but the large consensus appears to favor the Ohio State product currently. 

Passing on Young's majestic capabilities because of durability concerns is a franchise-altering call that could end up being a mistake. But that does not detract from what a special talent Stroud is and how well he could fit into Frank Reich's way of thinking. 

With their second-round selection, the Panthers got themselves a highly-athletic cornerback in Emmanuel Forbes at No. 39 overall. The former Mississippi State star has the speed, athleticism, and natural instincts to be a significant asset to a group in desperate need of assistance, but there are some concerns about his weight and ability to hold up against more physically-imposing wideouts at the next level. 

Despite the potential complications that could emerge, Forbes makes a ton of sense and could go much higher than this based on most projections. Therefore, it would be hard for Carolina to turn down all things considered. 

Rounding off Carolina's picks in Edwards' mock draft was K.J. Henry. This strengthens the pass-rushing options and also breaks the streak of never selecting a prospect from Clemson across franchise history spanning almost three decades. 

Henry isn't getting the same fanfare as his old college teammates Bryan Breese and Myles Murphy. However, the edge defender is fast, physical, and has enough scope to get better as the years go on. 

If the Panthers emerged from the first three rounds with these prospects, it would be nothing short of fantastic. Something that would provide further hope that an NFC South championship challenge is well within the team's reach in 2023.

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