Panthers reportedly targeting C.J. Stroud with No. 1 pick


Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud is the frontrunner for the Panthers with the No. 1 pick, according to Joe Person of The Athletic.

The Panthers will hammer out their evaluations of every top quarterback prospect in the upcoming NFL draft to narrow down their selection. But the belief, according to reports, is that Stroud is the frontrunner. 

"League insiders believe it will be Stroud, who’s bigger than Young, more accurate than Richardson and more of a playmaker than Levis," Person wrote. 

The Bears traded the No. 1 pick down to the Carolina Panthers for the No. 9 and No. 61 picks in the upcoming draft, along with a 2024 first-rounder, 2025 second-rounder and D.J. Moore. The Panthers are now reportedly focused on Stroud while contemplating all options with the first pick. 

MORE: Panthers willing to trade down from No. 1 pick

Stroud, as Person noted, has an edge on all of the quarterbacks at the top of the draft. His mobility is a concern, but his size (6-foot-3, 215 pounds) is a major plus, along with his arm and intuition on the field. 

The Panthers have gone through a rigamarole of quarterbacks over the past few seasons. They've plugged in veterans Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold, Teddy Bridgewater, and others. All have tried and failed. 

Carolina is looking for a fresh start, as proven by their trade to obtain a quarterback with the No. 1 pick. And their previous move to jettison Christian McCaffrey to the San Francisco 49ers mid-season in 2022. 

The Panthers skipped out on an Ohio State quarterback in a recent draft, by way of Justin Fields in the 2022 NFL draft. They opted for defensive back Jaycee Horn at the No. 8 pick and watched Fields fall to the Bears at the No. 11 pick. 

What will the Panthers do when the clock starts ticking down April. 27? 

They now hold the rights to anyone they want with the No. 1 pick. 

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