The Carolina Panthers made a bold move by trading up for the first overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. In exchange for the top pick, they gave up wide receiver DJ Moore, the ninth pick in the 2023 draft, a second-round pick in 2023 and 2025, and a first-round pick in 2024. This trade shows the Panthers are serious about improving their team and finding a franchise quarterback to build around, and this seems likely to be Ohio State QB CJ Stroud.
Panthers Believed to be Targeting CJ Stroud
So who are the Panthers targeting with this first overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft? All signs point to Ohio State quarterback CJ Stroud. Stroud’s odds to be the number one pick were already favorable before the trade, but they have since collapsed. Stroud has overtaken Alabama QB Bryce Young as the favorite to be the first pick.
Prior to the trade, Stroud’s odds were around +350 with top US sportsbooks. However, those odds are now long gone, and new odds as low as -425 suggest he is the clear favorite for the top spot.
What does this mean in terms of probability? A -425 line implies an 81.0% implied probability that Stroud will be the first pick in the draft. This is a significant increase from the +350 odds, which would suggest a 22.2% implied probability. These odds changes indicate that the Panthers are likely to draft Stroud, and the sportsbooks are taking notice.
Stroud a Perfect Fit For Reich
It’s no surprise that Stroud is the likely target for the Panthers. New head coach Frank Reich was appointed at the end of January, and Stroud fits perfectly into his system. Reich is known for his work with quarterbacks, having previously coached the likes of Carson Wentz and Philip Rivers. Stroud has the talent and potential to be a star quarterback in the NFL, and Reich could be the coach to help him reach that level.
CJ Stroud’s ball placement on some of these tight window throws is just obnoxious… no idea how he fit this in there.
The Ohio State passer is the most naturally accurate QB in the 2023 NFL Draft. pic.twitter.com/k7Ma7aKrQk
— Bobby Football (@Rob__Paul) February 28, 2023
The Panthers have gone through quarterbacks quicker than a politician goes through promises during election season. Cam Newton, Sam Darnold, Baker Mayfield, PJ Walker, Kyle Allen, Taylor Heinicke, and Will Grier have all started games during the last five seasons.
The last time they picked at one was 2011, and that worked out well when the Panthers selected the 2015 MVP Cam Newton. But now is the time for the future as they line up CJ Stroud as their number one pick.
Of course, there is always the possibility that the Panthers could surprise everyone and go in a different direction with the first overall pick. However, all indications suggest that they will select Stroud.
This would be a smart move for the Panthers, as they are in desperate need of a franchise quarterback. Stroud has the arm strength, accuracy, and athleticism to excel at the next level, and he would give the Panthers the cornerstone they need to build around.
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