Panthers believed to be targeting Week 1 starting QB in 1st round of 2023 NFL draft
The Carolina Panthers didn’t hire Frank Reich as their head coach simply because he was a quarterback. They hired him, in part, to help them find one.
Following Thursday’s big news, CBS Sports lead NFL insider Jonathan Jones—formerly of The Charlotte Observer—dropped some hints as to where the Panthers will look for said quarterback. And he thinks their main focus will be on the upcoming draft class.
“I do believe that they’re going to draft a quarterback on the first day of the draft, and it will be a young man who they will hope will win the starting job in Week 1,” he said. “They liked what they saw out of Sam Darnold there at the end. He showed flashes. But, of course, that’s what we’ve always known about Sam Darnold in his career. He’s just sorta shown flashes.
“We know that they dealt Baker Mayfield. They have PJ Walker, who is really sort of a Matt Rhule player that Steve Wilks ultimately inherited. So, yes, look very, very closely. If you are mocking the Carolina Panthers, you should be mocking them a quarterback.”
Despite Darnold’s solid 2022 showing, the soon-to-be free agent is likely not the long-term answer this franchise has been desperately looking for under center. The same may go for 2022’s third-round pick Matt Corral, who was a project started by the Matt Rhule regime.
But if the Panthers want their guy this spring, they may have to move up for him. While much will change between now and April, the team’s ninth overall pick may not be enough to get them that Week 1 starter.
Until then, we’ll see which direction Reich will take in his first offseason at the helm in Carolina.
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Every player selected 9th overall in the NFL draft since 2013