With the No. 1 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, the Carolina Panthers are back in position to solve their quarterback problems prevalent since Cam Newton was released
General manager Scott Fitterer acquired the top pick in the draft from the Chicago Bears in March, parting with the ninth overall pick, wide receiver DJ Moore and a first-round pick in 2024.
This is Fitterer's latest effort to find a franchise quarterback for Carolina. The Panthers abandoned 2018 draft picks acquired from their original teams, releasing the No. 1 pick in that draft, Baker Mayfield, and cutting ties with Sam Darnold. Darnold was the third overall pick in 2018. Carolina also drafted Matt Corral with the 94th pick in the 2022 draft
A five-year playoff drought tracing the full length of David Tepper's ownership was nearly broken last season, but the Panthers finished behind the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with a 7-10 record
Carolina has a new coach in Frank Reich but the Panthers' mission remains the same: Find the franchise quarterback needed to stabilize a franchise with 44 losses in the past four seasons
1. QB: Newton was the No. 1 pick in 2011 and a swirl of seat-warmers tried but failed to nail down the starting job since.
2. Edge: Converting to the 3-4 defense requires a boost in pass rush with Brian Burns back following a career-best 12.5 sacks in 2022.
3. Interior OL: With the Eagles and Colts, Reich was part of teams that believed in fortifying the line. That included placing value on interior blockers.
2023 DRAFT PICKS
Round Pick (Overall)
1. 1 (1)
2. 8 (39)
3. 30 (93)
4. 12 (114)
4. 30 (132)
5. 10 (145)
7. 9 (226)
1. QB C.J. Stroud, Ohio State: Pinpoint accuracy and prototype size elevate Stroud just ahead of Alabama's Bryce Young, who also had elite-level production in a major conference.
2. OLB Will McDonald, Iowa State: All signs point to the Panthers chasing a player who can close on the quarterback early, and McDonald checks all of the boxes with 34 career sacks and an impressive pro day showing in Ames
3. RB Devon Achane, Texas A&M: Run-after-catch dynamo ran a 4.32 40. He was the All-SEC pick at running back due to big-play flair. He's a make-you-miss maestro in the open field and had 35 carries for 10-plus yards in 2022. Achane would serve as the understudy to Miles Sanders while working out of the slot and returning kicks ala Nyheim Hines.
--Field Level Media