2023 Mock Draft Report 1.0: Kicking off the offseason

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CHARLOTTE - It's officially Mock Draft season for the Panthers and media outlets have started rolling out their predictions for the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft, scheduled for the end of April in Kansas City.

Take a look at the analysis from each outlet as they have mocked up scenarios for a quarterback to land with Carolina.

ESPN.com ($)
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QB Anthony Richardson
Florida

Jordan Reid: Most scouts around the league agree that Richardson will be one of the toughest evaluations in this cycle. I could see him going in this range as the third or fourth quarterback off the board, but it also wouldn't be surprising to see him fall to Day 2. He only has 13 starts with middling production (24-15 TD-to-INT ratio) on his résumé, but the physical traits are eye-popping. His ceiling is really, really high.

A lot of questions loom in Carolina this offseason, and one of the biggest is the future outlook under center. Richardson will need patience, proper development and a franchise that avoids constant staff turnover. If the Panthers can maximize him, they can stabilize their QB position. Only Houston has a worse QBR over the past three years than Carolina (32.9).

CBS Sports
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QB Anthony Richardson
Florida

Josh Edwards: Carolina comes across as desperate to land a viable long-term quarterback option. Richardson has a very high ceiling but there are going to be some growing pains on the elevator ride up.

PFF
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QB Anthony Richardson
Florida

Michael Renner: Beggars can’t be choosers with three quarterbacks off the board already. The Panthers are certainly going to be the beneficiaries of a deep quarterback class. Richardson offers the kind of tools that can go No. 1 overall, but he will likely fall to this point because he lacks the polish and experience you see from most first-rounders. He earned an 80.1 overall grade in his first season as a starter.

Athletic
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QB C.J. Stroud
Ohio State

The Athletic Staff: The Panthers have stayed in the playoff hunt thanks to the dreadful state of the NFC South and despite the lack of a franchise quarterback. Sam Darnold is the third QB to start for Carolina this year, following Baker Mayfield and P.J. Walker.

Draft Network
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QB C.J. Stroud (via CHI)
Ohio State

Jaime Eisner: Dave Tepper and the Panthers seem like they’re going to be aggressive this offseason. I bet he does whatever it takes to land one of the top young QBs. In this NFL mock draft, they make a trade-back with the Bears, who need to add as many picks and talented players as possible. Carolina has a playoff-ready defense and some offensive cornerstones in D.J. Moore and Ikem Ekwonu. C.J. Stroud lost some of his pre-draft hype before gaining it all back in the Peach Bowl. Even before that, his build and upside still warrant him being a first-round selection. The Bears get to move down again, pick up another top-40 pick, and will still have some quality edge rushers to choose from.

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