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Carolina Panthers

What to watch for at the 2023 scouting combine

NFL Combine

INDIANAPOLIS – The Panthers found their new head coach in Frank Reich and assembled a full staff, so now attention turns to rounding out the roster through the draft.

The NFL comes together Feb. 27-March 6 for the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, where 319 invited prospects come together to go through medical testing, interview with teams, and participate in on-field workouts in front of evaluators from potential destinations.

For the Panthers, it will also include a meeting with free agent quarterback Derek Carr, who is available to sign with any team now after being released by the Raiders. He has also met with the Saints and Jets already, and will connect with Panthers decision-makers while he's in Indianapolis.

As far as the combine itself, fans pay particular interest to the televised workouts, which include the 40-yard dash, three-cone drill, and 20-yard shuttle, but teams take interest in the components behind the scenes. NFL Network will air more than 50 hours of this year's event, beginning March 2. NFL Network, NFL+, and will offer multi-platform coverage of the entire event throughout the week.

Medical testing is paramount for teams, as evaluators get an initial evaluation of a player's pre-existing conditions or injuries. It's to make judgments on their physical status before they head into the league as the top priority in Indianapolis.

The next step is the interview. Teams are permitted to conduct up to 45 individual interviews with prospects, tasked with getting to know the players and their grasps on football concepts.

The Panthers were going to be interested in speaking with the class of quarterbacks here anyway, as they head into 2023 with Matt Corral and Jacob Eason on the roster. Corral, a third-round selection in last year's draft, wasn't able to play in the regular season after a preseason Lisfranc injury sidelined him for the year. Eason was a practice squad signal-caller in 2022.

There are four quarterbacks with first-round projections in this year's draft, headlined by Alabama's Bryce Young. The Panthers will also have their eyes on C.J. Stroud from Ohio State, Kentucky's Will Levis, and Anthony Richardson from Florida, who each rank within NFL draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah's top 15 overall prospects.

The Panthers hold the ninth pick in this year's draft.

There's more than prospect evaluation happening in Indianapolis this week. While teams aren't officially allowed to negotiate until March 13, there's the inevitable chance of an encounter between teams during the combine. It's natural in hallways and restaurants across the city, and expectations can become clearer through these conversations.

These meetings could spell future acquisitions across the roster, though nothing is able to be finalized until the league year begins on March 15.

Regardless, Carolina's evaluators will leave Indianapolis with more knowledge on this year's draft class, and the new coaching staff will have a more clear image of their draft boards heading into the draft, which will be held April 27-29 in Kansas City, Missouri.

Day-by-day NFL Network combine schedule:

  • Thursday, March 2 (3 p.m.-8 p.m. ET): DL, LB
  • Friday, March 3 (3 p.m.-8 p.m. ET): DB, PK/ST
  • Saturday, March 4 (1 p.m.-8 p.m. ET): QB, WR, TE
  • Sunday, March 5 (1 p.m.-7 p.m. ET): OL, RB

View throwback photos of defensive end Brian Burns at the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine.

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