Panthers believed to be set on this QB with top pick
from Michael Gallagher, with YardBarker.com/www.yardbarker.com
While Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud had been the rumored front-runner to be taken No. 1 overall since the Carolina Panthers acquired the pick from the Chicago Bears, ESPN’s Chris Mortenson says things have changed.
During Wednesday’s mock draft special on ESPN, Mortenson revealed his sources have told him that the Panthers are locked in on Alabama QB Bryce Young and not Stroud with the top pick.
“What I’m hearing is that Mel [Kiper] and Todd [McShay] are going to have to change their mock drafts and that Bryce Young is the pick,” Mortenson said. “Yes, connecting Frank Reich to C.J. Stroud in terms of the prototype of guys that he’s worked with in the past [makes sense], but [the Panthers] love Bryce Young. … I think the Panthers are on Bryce Young from the start and will stick with him when it’s time to turn in that card.”
Both Kiper and McShay had Carolina taking Stroud in their most recent mock drafts. Stroud had been a -333 favorite to go No. 1 overall as early as Wednesday morning while Young had +225 odds of going with the top pick, per SI Sportsbook.
Per @peter_king , “Several influential” members of the #Panthers like Bryce Young over CJ Stroud at #1.
— Drew Rigley (@DrewRigley) April 3, 2023
Mortenson compared the situation to two years ago when the San Francisco 49ers traded up to third overall. Seemingly everyone was convinced it was for Alabama QB Mac Jones, but the team decided to take North Dakota State QB Trey Lance at the last minute.
Young threw for 3,328 yards, 32 touchdowns and five interceptions in 2022 while leading the Crimson Tide to an 11-2 record and a Sugar Bowl win. Stroud threw for 3,688 yards, 41 touchdowns and six interceptions. The Buckeyes went 11-2 and lost to national champion Georgia in the Peach Bowl.