The Carolina Panthers sent shockwaves across the NFL on Friday when they traded four draft picks and wide receiver D.J. Moore to the Chicago Bears to receive the top pick in next month’s draft.
Clearly, the Panthers have positioned themselves to take a quarterback with that No. 1 pick, which has led some to think they intend to take Bryce Young of the University of Alabama.
But according to NFL reporter Dov Kleiman and Panthers reporter Joe Person, Carolina has its eyes set on Ohio State University signal-caller C.J. Stroud.
Update: The "sense around the league" is that the #Panthers will be drafting Ohio State QB C.J. Stroud, according to league insiders.
(via @josephperson) pic.twitter.com/aDHi92Pq66
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) March 10, 2023
Many have felt Young would be the first player chosen in this year’s draft thanks to his passing ability and instinctual feel for the game, but there are also real concerns about his size since he is less than six-feet tall.
Still, he managed to put up 3,328 passing yards and 32 passing touchdowns, plus four rushing touchdowns this past season while leading the Crimson Tide to an easy win in the Sugar Bowl.
Stroud is a decent physical specimen at 6-foot-4 and 220 pounds, and he logged 3,340 yards and 37 touchdowns in 2022 a year after leading the Buckeyes to victory in the Rose Bowl by throwing six touchdown passes.
The Panthers won just seven games in 2022 while undergoing some major changes, including firing head coach Matt Rhule and trading star running back Christian McCaffrey in October.
Without Moore, they will lack a bona fide threat at wide receiver, but they will still have running back D’Onta Foreman, who had 914 yards and five touchdowns.
If Stroud is their man, he will have the benefit of playing for a small market team that isn’t expecting to win lots of games for a while, which would give him time to develop at his own pace.NEXT: NFL Analyst Names 1 Team As "Most Aggressive" In Trying To Move Up In Draft