NFL rumors: Have Panthers already signaled which QB they’ll draft No. 1?

Carolina Panthers general manager Scott Fitterer. (Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports)
Carolina Panthers general manager Scott Fitterer. (Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Panthers may have already telegraphed who they intend to take with the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft with Anthony Richardson in the crosshairs.

Now that the Panthers have acquired the No. 1 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft via a trade with the Bears, all the speculation in the NFL world will focus on their quarterback choice.

It’s a franchise-changing decision that owner David Tepper, GM Scott Fitterer and head coach Frank Reich have to sort out. And the tea leaves may already be pointing in one particular direction.

More than a week ago, Matt Miller of ESPN reported that Carolina is “all in on Anthony Richardson.”

“I think it’s a good situation for Richardson,” Miller said. “You can bring back Sam Darnold, who can really hold the door for a year and let someone like Richardson develop. I think you get him on the field immediately, see some packages for him — a lot like we saw at Florida in 2021 — but then you get him more ready to be that starter in 2024. I do think this is an ideal situation for him as a guy who it’s really dealing like it’s a lock for him to be a Top 10 pick.”

That was before Carolina moved up to No. 1, sending the Bears a slew of draft picks and their top wide receiver DJ Moore.

Panthers being “all-in” on Anthony Richardson make sense

While that move could be seen as the Panthers looking at one of the more conventional QB prospects like CJ Stroud or Bryce Young, others saw how it plays into the Anthony Richardson scenario.

After all, the quarterback chosen by Carolina won’t have a star receiver like Moore to help them in the early stage of their career. Perhaps that’s because the intention is to draft a project who won’t take over as a starter until down the line anyways.

There are a million different reports about which way the Panthers are leaning. They might honestly not be leaning any particular way at all. But if Richardson is the pick, don’t say we didn’t warn you.

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