3 bold predictions for Panthers in 2023 NFL Draft, including picking Bryce Young

So how did we get here, to the point the Carolina Panthers have the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft (taking place April 27)? Well…to say it was a journey would be an understatement, but I’ll do my best to explain how we arrived here.

Let’s go back to the midpoint of the 2022 season, when the Panthers decided it was time to start rebuilding. The biggest move they made was trading running back Christian McCaffrey to the San Francisco 49ers for multiple draft picks. That, combined with the fact Carolina had no direction at quarterback, signaled the beginning of an organizational tank.

At least that was the thought process, but a funny thing happened during the season. The players and coaches actually wanted to do their jobs and compete, and the Panthers almost stumbled into the NFC South title.

When the season ended, Carolina found themselves in the ninth position for April’s draft, and with a plentiful amount of quarterbacks coming out, it’s not a stretch to say the Panthers want to get one.

Apparently, the squad’s front office was willing to go to great lengths to get their guy, sending multiple picks (including the ninth pick) and wide receiver DJ Moore to the Chicago Bears to get to the No. 1 spot, something the Bears held up to that point.

Now, it’s about that time to find out what Carolina will do with their picks, but before we do, it’s time to give my three bold predictions for who will reside in Charlotte for the foreseeable. If I’m wrong about these, I’ll be the first to admit it, but given where it’s believed the needs are, confidence is high on these choices.

1. The Panthers will select Bryce Young with the first overall pick

This may not be the best example of going out on a limb, but when Carolina traded up to the first pick, there were multiple reports that said Ohio State quarterback CJ Stroud is the player they would select. Nobody knows what’s going to happen in the future, and reports can go one way or the other. I’m just stating where the chatter was leading.

With all of that said, I believe it’s Alabama QB Bryce Young who gets the call, and why wouldn’t he? Young seems like the prospect that’s most ready to play right now, and despite all of the talk about his lack of height, there’s more than enough tape that says that won’t be much of a problem.

Could another team swoop in and offer something for the Panthers to trade back down? It’s definitely possible, but it’s hard to believe Carolina would send all of that capital to Chicago just to get back out. So all things considered, Young will be named their quarterback for the future.

2. Wide receiver Cedric Tillman will be available for the Panthers in the second round

The Panthers have the 39th pick in their possession (early in the second round), and what better way is there to make the future QB comfortable than to draft another target for him to throw to? That’s where Tennessee wide receiver Cedric Tillman comes in at the right time.

The fact Tillman would be there be there should be considered a gift. In 2021, he was considered one of the best wideouts in the country. 2022 wasn’t as successful for Tillman, as injuries limited him to half a season’s worth of action.

Because of the injury, his draft stock dropped, but it’s not like he lost all of his abilities. Tillman is still 6’3″, 213 points who can run a 4.5 40-yard dash. With that size and speed, he can come in and make an instant impact, and of course, make Young’s life easier in his rookie season.

Combine drafting Tillman with picking up receivers Adam Thielen and DJ Chark in free agency, and all of a sudden, Carolina has the look of a potentially potent offense.

3. Edge rusher Zach Harrison comes to Carolina

In the third round, the Panthers can still address their need for an edge pass-rusher, and they’ll select Ohio State defensive end Zach Harrison to fill it. If there was a strength for Carolina last season, it was their defense, but one of the weak spots was getting a consistent pass rush.

Enter Harrison, who is a giant human at 6’6″ and 274 pounds. Not only would he be good at rushing the passer, but he also has the size to stand up against the run. If this is a player projected to go in their round, that says a lot about the depth of the draft.

The Panthers don’t have a bunch of draft picks to work with, but they will make the most of them.

The post 3 bold predictions for Panthers in 2023 NFL Draft, including picking Bryce Young appeared first on ClutchPoints.

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