The Carolina Panthers made the boldest move they could make and traded up to the 1st overall spot. The Panthers gave up pick 9, 61 (2nd), a 2024 1st, a 2025 2nd, and WR DJ Moore to the Chicago Bears. You obviously aren’t making that move if you don’t have an idea of what player you want.
After trading Christian McCaffrey to the 49ers, the Panthers had the ammo to make this move possible.
Carolina Panthers 2023 Mock Draft
I used the mock draft simulator over at NFL Mock Draft Database to simulate the results with me only picking for the Panthers.
1-1: C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State
While there is no such thing as a sure thing in the NFL Draft, I like my odds of winning a lot better with Stroud pulling the trigger each week than Florida QB Anthony Richardson. Stroud has the size and arm strength that is ideal. His scouting report almost reads verbatim what HC Frank Reich said he wants in a QB. The Carolina Panthers paid a lot to move up from nine to one. I can’t see them risking it all on a Powerball ticket.
2-39: Josh Downs, WR, North Carolina
The search for DJ Moore’s replacement begins with Josh Downs. The prolific pass catcher is a superb route runner with great speed. I would expect the Panthers to add a veteran or two as well to this room.
3-93: Zach Harrison, EDGE, Ohio State
The Panthers thought they were getting a complimentary bookend to Brian Burns when they drafted Yetur Gross-Matos. That just hasn’t worked out. So, they will look to the draft to add another pass rusher. Ohio State’s Zach Harrison is on an upward trajectory from a production standpoint. Carolina would be ecstatic if he fall in their laps.
4-114: Kenny McIntosh, RB, Georgia
The Carolina RB room is looking kind of sad after they traded away McCaffrey. D’Onta Foreman is a free agent and Chuba Hubbard is ok. Kenny McIntosh still has a lot of tread on his tires. He is also an excellent receiver out of the backfield.
4-132: Dorian Williams, LB, Tulane
Carolina re-signed Shaq Thompson but he isn’t getting any younger. I propose they select an athletic tackling machine in Dorian Williams to groom as his replacement.
5-145: Josh Whyle, TE, Cincinnati
The Panthers can use a talent upgrade in the tight end room. Whyle was a very productive player at Cincinnati who also is a good athlete.
It would not surprise me if the Carolina Panthers traded down while they are on the clock at pick 40 and 94. They need a wholesale talent infusion on this roster and they will need more than six draft picks to do it.