The Carolina Panthers now have the No. 1 pick in the 2023 NFL draft, and they will surely be targeting a quarterback prospect. The Panthers moved up from No. 9 overall in a trade with the Chicago Bears, who originally had the top pick after a 3-14 season.
Four quarterbacks have the chance to be the No. 1 selection as we move closer to the draft. Alabama's Bryce Young and Ohio State's C.J. Stroud are among the favorites, but there is also a chance that the Panthers fall in love with the potential of either Kentucky's Will Levis or Florida's Anthony Richardson. The Panthers have been searching for an answer under center for a while now, finishing 31st (27.6) and 30th (35.7) in Total QBR in the past two seasons, respectively. Four different quarterbacks have started at least five games for them over that time. This move gives Carolina the chance to find its franchise signal-caller.
As we move toward draft month, we're tracking all the latest news, buzz and rumors around who will go No. 1 overall, with insight from our NFL reporters, insiders, draft experts and sports betting analysts. Most recent updates are on top, and all betting updates are via Caesars Sportsbook.
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Wednesday, March 22
David Newton, Panthers reporter: Adam Thielen admittedly "was trying my hardest'' while being recruited by the Panthers to get a feel for which quarterback they planned to select with the top pick of the NFL draft.
"That was one piece of information they wouldn't give me,'' the former Minnesota Vikings wide receiver said with a laugh Monday on "The Pat McAfee Show."
Thielen signed a three-year, $25 million deal anyway because he liked what general manager Scott Fitterer and coach Frank Reich had done in free agency.
"We really feel like we're putting this guy [the top pick of the draft] in a good position with some of the pieces we've signed,'' Reich said. "We're going to take every second, every hour, every day to make this decision. We've still got plenty of time left.''
Watch: Will C.J. Stroud and Bryce Young start immediately in the NFL?
Listen: Fitz & Harry discuss why CJ Stroud makes sense for the Panthers
Todd McShay, NFL draft analyst: I was told 18 people from the Panthers' organization were on-site for Stroud's pro day on Wednesday, including owner David Tepper, his wife Nicole, new coach Frank Reich, general manager Scott Fitterer, offensive coordinator Thomas Brown and passing game coordinator Parks Frazier. Stroud had dinner with the Panthers' group on Tuesday night. It's not often we see owners at pro day workouts, but Tepper and Co. will continue on to the pro days for the rest of the top QBs, including Young's workout on Thursday in Alabama.
We also need to be prepared for Carolina to float rumors about different people within the organization having infatuations with each of the four top quarterbacks over the next few weeks. Could the Panthers even be putting pressure on the Texans, attempting to force Houston into trading up for the No. 1 pick and recovering some of the lost draft capital from their move up the board in early March?
Monday, March 20
Newton: Panthers coach Frank Reich spoke on Monday and said that he hasn't ruled out any of the four quarterbacks targeted for the top pick of the draft. "When you have the No. 1 pick you don't have to play games, right?" Reich said. "It's not like we're trying to fool anybody. What we're trying to do is take all the time we can on the evaluation."
GM Scott Fitterer and Reich both insisted all four quarterbacks were in play for the top pick. They also agreed that whoever that quarterback is, the roster has been built in free agency so that player has a chance to start right away despite the addition of veteran quarterback Andy Dalton. The Panthers will attend pro days of all four of the top quarterbacks and plan to bring all four to Charlotte for a visit as well.
Thursday, March 16
David Bearman, sports betting analyst: Stroud continues to move ahead as the betting favorite to be the No. 1 overall pick, now at -275. Young is second at +300, and Richardson is right behind him at +325. Levis is a distant fourth at +3000.
Tuesday, March 14
Adam Schefter, NFL insider: The Panthers and free agent quarterback Andy Dalton are expected to reach an agreement on a two-year, $10 million deal that includes $8 million fully guaranteed, a source told ESPN's Adam Schefter. The maximum value of the contract is $17 million, the source said. Dalton will give Carolina the veteran it has been seeking to help bring along the quarterback it selects with the No. 1 overall pick in the upcoming NFL draft. The Panthers are focused on Ohio State's Stroud and Alabama's Young with the first pick, according to sources, although they will continue to evaluate Florida's Richardson and Kentucky's Levis.
Friday, March 10
Bearman: Before the trade for the No. 1 pick, Alabama's Young was the odds-on favorite (-150) to be the first pick taken in April's draft. Ohio State's Stroud was the second favorite at +240. After Carolina traded up for the top pick, those two prospects flipped, with Stroud becoming the favorite (now -225) and Young second (+175). Florida's Richardson went from +450 to +300.
Newton: While Carolina hasn't settled on one of the top quarterbacks at this point, according to a source with direct knowledge of trade talks, it would be a hard sell to go with Florida's Richardson, who is considered more of a project. The early favorites to go No. 1 are Young and Stroud, who both seemed to impress the Carolina staff most at the NFL combine -- particularly Young.
Schefter: The Panthers traded receiver DJ Moore, the No. 9 pick, a late-second-round pick (No. 61), a 2024 first-round selection and a 2025 second-round pick to the Bears in exchange for the No. 1 selection. ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that talks for the No. 1 pick had intensified and multiple teams, including the Houston Texans, expressed interest in making a deal with Chicago. The Panthers ultimately pulled off the deal and wanted to get it done before free agency started.
McShay: Updated mock draft (ESPN+)
Newton and Cronin: What does this deal mean for the Panthers?
Barnwell: Biggest winners, losers of the trade (ESPN+)