The Carolina Panthers hold the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, and they will take their new franchise quarterback with the top selection. The question is, which quarterback is the right one? The top two signal-callers are perceived to be Alabama's Bryce Young and Ohio State's C.J. Stroud, but it's entirely possible Carolina goes in another direction. That's what Panthers legend Thomas Davis believes will happen next month.
On NFL Network this week, Davis said Young would be a "great fit in this organization" ... if the Panthers were going to draft him. He doesn't believe that will happen, saying, "I think it's gonna be a very, very surprising pick in Carolina."
Davis believes former Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson could be Carolina's selection after he tore up the NFL Combine.
"I just know that there are a couple of guys upstairs that are enamored by the physical ability of Anthony Richardson," Davis said. "I'll just say that."
.@MoveTheSticks has Bryce Young going #1 to Carolina...@ThomasDavisSDTM disagrees "It will be a very very surprising pick" 👀 pic.twitter.com/LqBEMfbdRo— NFL Total Access (@NFLTotalAccess) March 21, 2023
The last time the Panthers selected a quarterback at No. 1 overall, they chose eventual franchise legend Cam Newton. While more than a few analysts have drawn comparisons with Richardson and Newton, Richardson was never the player Newton was in college. He's much more raw, but his athletic ability does give him a high ceiling.
At the combine, Richardson ranked first among all quarterbacks in height at 6-4 1/4" and weight (244 pounds), ranked first at the 40-yard dash (4.43) and registered a 40.5" vertical and 10'9" broad jump. Those both ranked first among all quarterbacks as well. His 4.43 40-yard dash was the second-fastest 40 time recorded by an eventual first-round quarterback at the combine since 2006, per ESPN. The 10'9" broad jump was also an NFL Combine record for a quarterback.
Richardson's 24 career passing touchdowns would be the fewest by a first-round pick at quarterback since Michael Vick in 2001 (21). His 54.7% completion percentage in college would be the lowest by a first-round pick since Jake Locker in 2011. Still, Richardson has all the tools necessary to be a much better pro than he was college player.
Currently, Caesars Sportsbook lists Stroud as the favorite to go No. 1 overall at -160. Young is behind him at +150, while Richardson is third at +450.