NFL Draft odds: CJ Stroud no longer big favorite at No. 1 as Bryce Young cuts the gap

When the offseason started, Bryce Young looked like he'd be the No. 1 pick of the 2023 NFL Draft.

That might be coming back around, after CJ Stroud spent some time as the betting favorite to go first overall.

Young fell well behind Stroud in the No. 1 overall pick odds in March, after the Carolina Panthers traded up to get the first pick. Young's odds got as high as +350 at BetMGM, and Stroud was the favorite at -275. That's a big gap.

The distance between the two has shrunk considerably the past couple days.

CJ Stroud still favored

On Monday morning, Stroud was still the favorite to go first but barely.

At BetMGM, Stroud was -130 on Monday. Young wasn't far behind at -105. Anthony Richardson is +2000 and Will Levis is +5000. Richardson, the athletic marvel from Florida, seems like decent value at those odds, but the market says we're down to Stroud or Young.

Why did Young's odds drop? A couple of reports indicated that the Panthers are leaning toward taking Young.

ESPN's Chris Mortensen said, "Bryce Young is the pick," according to Panthers Wire. NBC Sports' Peter King said Young has supporters high up in the Panthers' organization and there is "momentum" for Young being Carolina's pick.

Both reporters said the final decision hasn't been made, though it still seems odd that the Panthers would trade a ton to move up to No. 1 and not have a quarterback in mind. The Panthers are keeping it a secret though, or they truly haven't decided.

A couple weeks before the draft, there's some intrigue over the top pick.

Alabama quarterback Bryce Young (9) is one of the top prospects in the 2023 NFL draft. (AP Photo/Vasha Hunt)
Alabama quarterback Bryce Young (9) is one of the top prospects in the 2023 NFL draft. (AP Photo/Vasha Hunt)

Could Bryce Young go with the top pick?

The biggest reason that Stroud became a big favorite to go to the Panthers seems to be that he fits the prototype Carolina coach Frank Reich has worked with in the past. Stroud is 6-foot-3, 214 pounds and doesn't have the durability concerns of the 5-10, 204-pound Young.

But whenever Reich or GM Scott Fitterer has been asked about Young, they have not said anything negative about Young's size. Stroud becoming a big favorite seemed to be conjecture.

The Panthers could still go with Stroud, a good prospect who might be considered safer because he is closer to the size NFL teams want in their quarterback. But the latest odds probably are a better reflection of the choice the Panthers have to make. It's close.

Young will meet with the Panthers on Tuesday. That doesn't indicate he's going to be the pick. But perhaps after Tuesday we'll have some more clarity, and perhaps another odds shift.