April 26, 2023 -It took the Carolina Panthers until this week to decide which quarterback they’ll select with the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft on Thursday night.
They’re not saying, but oddsmakers believe it’ll be Alabama’s Bryce Young. The 2021 Heisman Trophy winner is an overwhelming favorite to go first, according to FanDuel Sportsbook. Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud has dropped from favorite to having the third-best odds behind Kentucky’s Will Levis. Florida’s Anthony Richardson is a longshot.
The Panthers traded four picks, including No. 9 overall and a first-rounder next year, along with wide receiver DJ Moore to give new coach Frank Reich a quarterback to build around.
They need to make the right decision.
The final edition of the AP’s 2023 mock draft gives the nod to Young.
1. Carolina Panthers (from Chicago): BRYCE YOUNG, QUARTERBACK, ALABAMA
Young can make every throw, has strong pocket presence and is a dynamic playmaker. The biggest question is his size — 5-foot-10, 204. It was never an issue while Young played at a high level at Alabama but the NFL is a different story and the Panthers need to protect their QB.
2. Houston Texans: C.J. STROUD, QUARTERBACK, OHIO STATE
Stroud has the ideal size — 6-foot-3, 214 pounds — to go with a strong, accurate arm and possesses the leadership ability and other intangibles. The Texans made it known they’re not sold on a QB at No. 2 and Texas Tech defensive end Tyree Wilson is the favorite. Franchise QBs win Super Bowls, not edge rushers.
3. Arizona Cardinals: WILL ANDERSON, EDGE, ALABAMA
New coach Jonathan Gannon benefited from having a dominant defensive line last season as a defensive coordinator for the NFC champion Philadelphia Eagles. Anderson is the best pass rusher in the draft and Arizona has to replace T.J. Watt and Zach Allen.