Much has been made about the prospect of trading up during the 2023 NFL Draft, but what would it cost the Carolina Panthers?
Now that the Carolina Panthers have their new head coach, attention immediately turns to what the organization plans to do at the quarterback spot. Only second-year-pro Matt Corral is under contract in 2023, so reinforcements are guaranteed as influential figures look to finally solve this concerning issue.
There is no Matt Rhule around to hinder the decision-making process after his time in Carolina abruptly ended after just five games in 2022. Frank Reich is a former quarterback himself with a proven capability of nurturing young talent, with general manager Scott Fitterer’s influence sure to grow without the Nebraska head coach weighing him down.
Carolina’s mini-resurgence under Steve Wilks was exactly what the franchise needed after so much failure. However, it makes things complicated in pursuit of their franchise signal-caller of choosing.
The Panthers will pick at No. 9 overall in the 2023 NFL Draft. Many if not all of the top four quarterback prospects might be gone by then, which would be nothing short of disastrous given the extreme need for a long-term solution under center.
What would it cost the Carolina Panthers to secure the No. 1 pick?
Making a bold trade-up to land their guy seems feasible. The Panthers have an abundance of top-end selections after trading Christian McCaffrey to the San Francisco 49ers, which could be packaged to strike a deal with the Chicago Bears, who don’t seem to be quarterback-needy considering Justin Fields’ presence on the roster.
This was a subject recently discussed by Gordon McGuinness of Pro Football Focus, who put together an enticing proposal that would give the Panthers first refusal of any prospect from No. 1 overall.
No. 1 overall
No. 9 overall
No. 39 overall
No. 61 overall
1st round pick (2024)
This would be a bombshell in no uncertain terms. McGuinness went on to predict the Panthers would select Bryce Young out of Alabama in this scenario.
“(Bryce) Young was tied for the highest PFF passing grade in all of college football this past season at 91.3, finishing the season with 23 big-time throws and just nine turnover-worthy plays. That comes a season after ranking third in PFF passing grade (92.0), with 36 big-time throws to 13 turnover-worthy plays. With the level of production we’ve seen from Young over the past two seasons, it’s worth the risk in a big trade-up for him for Carolina.”
It’s a lot to sacrifice, there’s no getting away from that. But the Panthers have to find a stable presence that can contribute immediately at football’s most critical position.
Young and C.J. Stroud appear to be the most pro-ready. Anthony Richardson and Will Levis have upside, but both need significant coaching before they are ready to assume command under center.
Those in power will already be coming up with ways to improve their options at quarterback. Trading up to No. 3 overall is also an option depending on how receptive the Arizona Cardinals are to potential inquiries.
The next few weeks and months will be fascinating from Carolina’s perspective. A new coaching regime and a more collective approach to recruitment have potential, but hitting on key needs is crucial if the Panthers wish to be considered a surprise playoff contender in 2023.
Strap yourselves in, it’s going to be another bumpy and eventful ride.