Who could be selected first overall in the 2023 NFL Draft?

Who could be selected first overall in the 2023 NFL Draft?

The 2023 NFL Draft is just days away, and unlike previous years, there hasn’t been a consensus first overall pick waiting in college for the Carolina Panthers to select in order to turn their franchise around.

But just because there’s no Joe Burrow or Trevor Lawrence this year doesn’t mean the Panthers are without quarterbacks to choose from. In fact, there are three signal callers for them to consider.

The favourite to go first overall, Bryce Young, played at the University of Alabama, where he won the college national championship in 2020 and the Heisman Trophy in 2021. Young passed for 8,356 yards and 80 touchdowns during his three years in Alabama, two of which he spent as a starter after spending his freshman (first) year as the backup to Mac Jones – now of the New England Patriots.

Young – who has met with the Panthers, Houston Texans, and Las Vegas Raiders – has reportedly cancelled all remaining visits with NFL teams ahead of draft day, all but guaranteeing his status as the first or second overall pick.

However, there are question marks surrounding Young’s size.

Officially weighing 204 pounds and measuring 5’ 10”, Young is considered on the smaller side for an NFL quarterback, and scouts are concerned that he may not be tall enough to see potential passes and that his body may be unable to take the physicality of the NFL.

If the Panthers want to take Young, they’ll have to focus on the skill that earned him the Heisman Trophy and not his physical limitations.

The second favourite to be selected first overall in the 2023 Draft is C.J. Stroud, who played quarterback for Ohio State University.

Stroud threw for 8,123 yards and 85 touchdowns while at Ohio State and finished third in Heisman Trophy voting in 2022, which was his second as the starter after backing up the Chicago Bears’ Justin Fields.

Scouts have been impressed with Stroud’s accuracy and arm strength, and if the Panthers are concerned about Young’s durability in the pros, Stroud would be the safer pick as his official combine measurements came in at 6’3” and 214 pounds.

Anthony Richardson, who played quarterback at the University of Florida, has an outside chance of being drafted first overall, although Carolina is supposedly ‘enamoured’ with Richardson and his potential upside.

Richardson started 13 games during his three years in Florida, throwing for 3,105 yards and 24 touchdowns in total, and his impressive showing at this year’s Scouting Combine turned heads.

Richardson’s athleticism, size, speed and arm strength were on full display in Indianapolis last month, but if the Panthers were to select Richardson first overall, it wouldn’t be without its risks. His lack of game time in college means many view him as more of a project – although Richardson himself said he “doesn’t even know” what the ‘project’ label means.

The Carolina Panthers and new head coach Frank Reich have a franchise-altering decision to make next week, but after trading with the Chicago Bears to acquire the first overall pick, they may already have their eyes set on their quarterback of the future.

The 2023 NFL Draft will take place on the 27-29 April in Kansas City, Missouri, with the first round beginning at 1:00 AM BST for UK fans.

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