CHARLOTTE, N.C. (CHARLOTTE SPORTS LIVE) — What in the world could happen?
The answer: it’s impossible to tell; however, we can break down the most likely scenarios for who the Panthers will take with the No. 1 pick in Thursday’s 2023 NFL Draft.
Bryce Young | Quarterback | Alabama
Young, the 21-year-old Alamba standout, is the most likely option from nearly every standpoint, aside from his physical build at 5’10”, 204 pounds. He is incredibly agile and athletic.
With too many Crimson Tide awards to put onto paper, Young’s most significant included the Heisman Trophy (2021), the AP College Football Player of the Year (2021), and SEC Offensive Player of the Year (2021).
In his sophomore year alone, Young recorded 4,872 passing yards, 47 passing touchdowns, and seven interceptions with three rushing touchdowns in 15 games.
Young had a ‘down year’ during his junior season in 2022 but still recorded outstanding stats, leading the Crimson Tide to an 11-2 record. He finished sixth in the Heisman Trophy voting.
Will Levis | Quarterback | Kentucky
Levis, the 23-year-old Kentucky Wildcat, holds tons of college-level experience and a ‘standard’ build at 6’4″, 232 pounds for a pro-level quarterback. He has a cannon for an arm.
His draft stock skyrocketed after an anonymous Reddit post on Tuesday.
“Will Levis is currently +4000 to be the first overall pick. Well ladies and gentleman, he’s telling friends and family Carolina will in fact take him on Thursday,” the post read. “You’re welcome.”
Levis is the dark-horse No. 1 pick and spent his first college season redshirting before playing as Steve Clifford’s backup at Penn State in 2019 and 2020.
He then transferred to the University of Kentucky in 2021 and was named the starter, leading the team to a 10-3 record.
In his junior year, Levis threw for 2,827 yards and 24 touchdowns while rushing for 376 yards and nine touchdowns; he led the team to a victory over No. 15 Iowa in the 2022 Citrus Bowl.
C.J. Stroud | Quarterback | Ohio State
Stroud, the 21-year-old Ohio State standout, led the team to an 11-2 record in 2022 and won the Heisman Trophy. He has pinpoint accuracy.
However, his draft stock has plummeted since his S2 cognitive tests scores were revealed; he scored the lowest score of any quarterback at 18%, while Bryce Young scored the highest at 98%.
Stroud’s best season, statistically, came in 2021, where he recorded 4,435 passing yards with 44 touchdowns.
Anthony Richardson | Quarterback | Florida
Richardson, the 20-year-old Florida Gator, has little college experience, boasting only one full season in 2022. He is compared to Cam Newton.
His incredible physical ability and potential land him highly on many mock draft boards.
Richardson recorded 2,549 passing yards with 17 touchdowns and 654 rushing yards with nine touchdowns during his 2022 season.
Though anything can happen, these four quarterbacks seem most likely, based on multiple reports and source information.
Otherwise, a potential trade-back isn’t entirely out of the question but remains unlikely.