NFL rumors: Panthers between rock and hard place with No. 1 pick

The Carolina Panthers are torn between taking CJ Stroud or Anthony Richardson at first.

With the first pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, the Carolina Panthers selected either C.J. Stroud, quarterback, Ohio State, or Anthony Richardson, quarterback, Florida.

If you didn’t read that in Roger Goodell’s shrill voice, I can’t save you. Then again, I can’t save the Panthers from making the wrong decision at the top of the draft. Either way, they made it abundantly clear that the recount is a thing of the past for them and their new coach, Frank Reich. Short guys be damned Bryce Young goes to the Houston Texans second overall now…

Pro Football Network’s Tony Bolin reports that Carolina is debating whether to use the first option traded to the Chicago Bears for Stroud or Richardson.

After speaking with multiple sources this weekend including those close to the team, the Carolina Panthers are targeting two quarterbacks for the draft – CJ Stroud/Ohio St & Anthony Richardson/UF. Discuss whether they would be willing to use the first pick of the draft over Richardson.

– Tony Pauline (@TonyPauline) March 13, 2023

Stroud is the safer pick, but Richardson has the upside to famed Panthers legend Cam Newton.

NFL rumours: Carolina Panthers ripped over C.J. Stroud or Anthony Richardson for first

look. I don’t know how much leverage the Panthers have in this case. I highly doubt anyone would want to trade even #1 with them now. The next most likely team to be traded again should be the Arizona Cardinals’ third-place pick. The question is whether the team that trades to Arizona will be great settling on the third choice quarterback after what Carolina and Houston decided to do.

It was a bold move for Panthers General Manager Scott Vetterer to go from ninth to No. 1, but I think we can all get behind it. The Panthers gave up a lot for this pick and as long as they make it no one will care what it costs to do business in a conference with Chicago. Because of this, I tend to like the Panthers’ decision to move up, as opposed to the Bears’ move to ninth…

Obviously, the safest choice for this exercise is the Stroud. While I love all four quarterbacks slated to be in the top 10, Stroud is No. 2 on my board behind Bryce Young. It’s every time the prototype goes through the pocket that you see coming out. I don’t think having support in the Ohio system is a huge deal. My concern is that I don’t know how close he can get to his roof. Will that be good enough?

From a positive standpoint, Richardson is getting everyone’s attention. His impressive NFL showing seems to hide the fact that he’s not an accurate passer. Then again, Newton wasn’t very subtle, and people had major reservations about Josh Allen coming out of Wyoming. If Richardson hits his ceiling, the Panthers will have the next Newton and times will be good.

In general, you need to be firm in your decision if you are from Carolina. Fluctuation will not be tolerated. In short, no one will attack you if you play it safe with Stroud and it doesn’t work. If Richardson thrives elsewhere, you’ll have to learn to live with that decision to make it through. Still, if Richardson bombs, that’s bad news, especially if Young and Stroud shine.

Let’s just hope the Cheetahs do all the homework necessary to make the best decision for them.

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