Carolina Panthers NFL

Can The Panthers Score Big In The 2023 NFL Draft?

Written by TrevStone

The Carolina Panthers will head into the 2023 season with a brand new coaching staff who will be searching for the team’s first winning season since 2017. Head coach Frank Reich and the rest of the Panthers’ organization will get their chance to start shaping the roster with young talent in the 2023 NFL Draft.

As of this writing, the Panthers have seven total picks in the draft with four in the top 100. Can general manager Scott Fitterer, Reich, and the rest of the staff nail the draft and place themselves as the front-runner for the NFC South? 

Here’s what the Panthers can do to score big in the 2023 NFL Draft.

What Picks do the Carolina Panthers Have in 2023?

Before we dive into what the Panthers should do with their picks, let’s look at what picks the Panthers currently have.

  • 9th overall (Round 1)
  • 39th overall (Round 2)
  • 61st overall (Round 2)
  • 93rd overall (Round 3)
  • 114th overall (Round 4)
  • 132nd overall (Round 4)
  • 147th overall (Round 5)

Picks 61, 93, and 132 come from the San Francisco 49ers as a result of the midseason Christian McCaffrey trade. Carolina will also have the 49ers’ fifth-round selection in the 2024 draft as part of the compensation for one of the league’s best running backs.

What are the Panthers’ Most Pressing Needs?

There are a few positions that need to be at the top of the Carolina Panthers’ draft wish list, including the most important position in football – the quarterback. This is being written ahead of NFL free agency, so some of these needs could be taken care of with veteran signings.


After attempting to use duct tape and super glue to fix their quarterback issue the past few seasons, the Panthers need to get a legitimate option. Derek Carr is off the table as the former Las Vegas Raider landed with divisional foe New Orleans Saints.

Carolina is in a very interesting spot in the draft when it comes to needing a quarterback. The Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Las Vegas Raiders, and Atlanta Falcons are all currently ahead of the Panthers and have a clear need for a signal caller.

The Detroit Lions at six overall are wildcards as a team who could look to invest in a rookie quarterback as well and would be set up perfectly to allow whoever they took to develop for a year behind current starter Jared Goff.

The New York Jets could potentially look to make an aggressive move up from 13th overall if they miss out on the Aaron Rodgers sweepstakes.

At the time of this writing, FanDuel Sportsbook gives the Panthers the shortest odds to draft Anthony Richardson at +340. Unfortunately for fans living in the Panthers’ home state, this market and other NFL Draft props are not available as North Carolina sports betting is only available at retail sportsbooks.

Following Richardson’s elite athletic testing at the NFL combine, however, the Panthers will likely have to move up in the draft to secure Richardson. If the Panthers stay at nine, it’s much more likely they are left with Kentucky quarterback Will Levis as their only option.

If they miss out on a potential franchise quarterback in the first round, Hendon Hooker, Max Duggan, and Tanner McKee could be names to watch out for on day two and beyond. This would be unlikely to solve their quarterback issue, however, and it’ll likely be back to the drawing board for 2024.

Top Defensive Needs

Although missing out on a round one quarterback would be highly disappointing, the Panthers would be in a fantastic spot to address other needs at nine overall.

Defensively, the Panthers need another edge rusher to complement Brian Burns. Depending on how Clemson prospect Myles Murphy performs at his pro day, he could be an option along with Iowa Hawkeye Lukas Van Ness.

If there isn’t an edge rusher the Panthers are willing to spend a top-10 pick on, they will likely look toward a handful of cornerbacks. Oregon’s Christian Gonzalez or Illinois’ Devon Witherspoon would be fantastic picks for Carolina.

There’s also a scenario where Georgia’s defensive lineman Jalen Carter slips in the draft due to recent legal issues. If this happens, it could be an opportunity for the Panthers to get one of the best overall prospects if they are comfortable with everything surrounding Carter’s situation.

Linebacker is another position of need, but if the Panthers decide to invest that will be a day two selection. The best option would be Iowa’s Jack Campbell, but his combine performance likely puts him in the back half of round one. Keep an eye out for players like Noah Sewell or Henry To’oto’o.

Top Offensive Needs

Outside of quarterback, there are several other offensive holes the Panthers need to consider in the 2023 NFL Draft. This includes wide receiver, tight end, running back, and the interior offensive line.

Unfortunately for the Panthers, there aren’t any players in those positions that are likely worth the ninth overall selection and so defense is where they should focus their attention if they miss out on quarterback. Looking past the first round, however, and there is plenty of talent to consider addressing offensively. 

Thanks to lackluster wide receiver performances at the NFL combine, there should be several options available during day two where Carolina holds three picks. After weighing in at less than 175 pounds and running slower than previously thought, could Jordan Addison fall to 39th overall? Zay Flowers and local product Josh Downs are two other names that could make sense for Carolina at some point in the second.

While the wide receivers disappointed at the combine, the tight end group certainly did not. After swinging and missing with guys like Ian Thomas and Tommy Tremble, Carolina could look to try again with someone like Dalton Kincaid, Luke Musgrave, or Sam LaPorta.

What the Panthers do at running back will be dictated by what happens in free agency. There are several high-end running backs hitting the market, including D’Onta Foreman who led the team in rushing yards last season.

About the author


Trevor 'TrevStone' Uren founded Pro Sports Extra in 2011 at the age of 13. He's hosted a podcast since 14 years old and continues to grow each month! He's currently 24 years old and has interviewed hundreds of professional athletes, business owners, and others who are shining online! Uren has built Pro Sports Extra to over 5M monthly visitors.