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Which QB ought to the Panthers take No. 1 in 2023 NFL Draft?

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We are able to pinpoint with actual precision when the primary sports activities argument passed off.

It was moments after the primary sports activities sport in historical past ended.

Arguing over sports activities has grow to be a pastime of its personal. It has created its personal trade, has spawned numerous careers, and opened the doorways for individuals like us to carve out our personal little slice of the sports activities media world.

One nice debate underway within the soccer media area?

Which quarterback the Carolina Panthers ought to draft with the first-overall choice within the 2023 NFL Draft.

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We thought an effective way to deal with this query could be for our personal J.P. Acosta and Mark Schofield to argue on behalf of every of the 4 quarterbacks, with our James Dator — SBNation’s resident Panthers fan — issuing his ruling.

Welcome to our first installment of Soccer Courtroom. The case on the docket? In re Carolina Panthers.

Mark Schofield on behalf of C.J. Stroud

Let me begin with the phrases of C.J. Stroud himself. When he met with the media in Indianapolis throughout the Mix, the Ohio State passer described himself as a “ball-placement specialist.”

For that cause alone, he must be the choose.

One of many largest duties of enjoying quarterback in right this moment’s NFL? Put the soccer the place it must be, when it must be there. With offenses emphasizing not simply the passing sport, however creating explosive performs within the passing sport because of favorable matchups, discovering a quarterback who offers the offense probably the most probabilities to create these performs by means of his accuracy is paramount.

That’s Stroud in a nutshell.

Learning his time at Ohio State, you see a quarterback constantly put the soccer the place it must be, when it must be there, whatever the protection, the leverage of the closest defender, or every other potential impediment. That accuracy unlocks each benefit afforded an offense by means of its scheme, its designs, and matchups created by means of motions, shifts, formations, and personnel.

Nonetheless, Stroud is greater than a Jugs machine. Far more. We noticed that within the remaining sport of his collegiate profession, a loss to Georgia within the School Soccer Playoff. Going through questions over his capacity to create outdoors the pocket, and use athleticism to breakdown defenses, Stroud did simply that.

Towards probably the greatest defenses within the sport.

A ball-placement specialist who can even ship performs like that along with his athleticism, and out of doors the pocket?

Feels like the right choose to me.

J.P Acosta on behalf of Bryce Younger

If the adage goes, “nice issues are available small packages,” then the Panthers must be sprinting as much as the board to take Alabama QB Bryce Younger.

Regardless of being a beneficiant 5’10 and a probably much more beneficiant 204 kilos, Younger is a wizard with the ball, primarily due to his spatial consciousness and his capacity to see the place individuals are going to be, not the place they’re within the present second. Positive, all QBs are taught to throw the ball the place the receiver goes to be, and never the place they’re on the present second, however Younger appears to see the sport on a 4D discipline, the puzzle items becoming collectively as if he’s a Blue Lock competitor (go watch the anime, you’ll perceive).

Younger can be superb from the pocket regardless of his dimension. He’s keen to throw it over the center and is correct to that a part of the sphere as effectively. The previous Heisman trophy winner is an enormous time participant, who reveals up within the best moments (see: 2021 vs. Georgia within the SEC championship sport, 2022 @ Texas, 2021 @ Auburn). Younger is an environment friendly playmaker who may be the purpose guard of your offense, delivering correct strikes to the intermediate ranges of the sphere.

Each brief QB has their weapon: for Kyler Murray and Russell Wilson, it was blazing velocity and athleticism. For Drew Brees, it was his thoughts and skill to be probably the most correct QB within the brief areas of the sphere.

Younger’s weapon? His weapon is his spatial consciousness, and for that it ought to make him the primary choose.

Mark Schofield on behalf of Will Levis

There may be an {old} noticed within the authorized career that goes like this: “Being an lawyer could be an amazing job, had been it not for the shoppers.” Typically it’s important to make an argument on behalf of a shopper you may need philosophical variations with. Typically it’s important to make an argument that you already know is an uphill battle. However the job requires that you just achieve this to the perfect of your capacity, and zealously advocate on behalf of your shopper, and their place.

That brings us to Kentucky quarterback Will Levis.

As issues stand proper now, Levis is the consensus QB4 within the 2023 NFL Draft. The strong collegiate careers of each Stroud and Younger, coupled with the rise of Anthony Richardson, has seen Levis slide again into that fourth spot. Nonetheless, he’s considered as a possible top-ten choose, and back in the fall there were reports that some groups had Levis as their QB1, forward of the opposite three.

Whether or not these groups nonetheless do, nonetheless, stays to be seen.

There’s a three-pronged case for Levis as QB1: Development, potential, and surroundings. These three prongs tie collectively completely in Carolina.

On the primary prong, Levis endured a change in offensive coordinators this previous season, noticed some top-flight expertise go away Kentucky for the NFL, and handled a toe damage that hampered him in and across the pocket final season, in addition to a dislocated finger on his left hand.

Even with these accidents he accomplished 65.4% of his passes for two,406 yards and 19 touchdowns.

There may be room for development as soon as issues stabilize round him.

Then there’s the potential. Levis has an enormous arm, is athletic, and is coming from offensive methods the previous two seasons that noticed him operating loads of “pro-style ideas.” In fact, the job of an NFL teaching employees is to get their quarterback into the correct system for them, however Levis has expertise working underneath middle, operating dropback and play-action ideas, turning his again to the protection, and doing the issues that historically NFL scouts and evaluators search for on the place.

That have, coupled along with his arm and athleticism, provides as much as loads of potential.

Lastly, there’s the surroundings prong. Carolina is probably the right place to unlock that potential, and create that path in direction of development. With every thing the Panthers have put across the quarterback place in Carolina, by way of teaching expertise, whoever the Panthers draft first general can be in place to develop and develop.

Together with, maybe particularly, Levis.

Apart from, have you ever seen his arms? Levis is ripped. Shredded. A Males’s Well being cowl ready to occur.

J.P. Acosta on behalf of Anthony Richardson

Buddies, Carolinians, individuals of the jury, enable me to current to you an thought.

Positive, you may take a look at the essential counting stats for Florida QB Anthony Richardson and scoff.

You may take a look at him operating a 4.43 at 244 kilos and say, “QBs are speculated to throw the ball.”

Nonetheless, once you activate the tape and watch Richardson play, there are much more moments that present good course of, fairly than vice versa.

Having to study a very new offense with many alternative instruments coming in, Richardson confirmed extra poise within the pocket and underneath strain because the season went on, displaying huge improvement in these areas. He’s very a lot a pocket passer who needs to throw the ball, however when your receivers don’t get open there isn’t a lot you are able to do. Richardson has tantalizing arm expertise to go on high of his processing being rather a lot higher than individuals give him credit score for, and once you combine within the athleticism that rivals Daunte Culpepper and Cam Newton, you bought one thing there.

For the Panthers, they’ve been toiling within the shadows of Cam Newton since 2018, by no means with the ability to discover that spark once more. In Richardson, sure there are issues to work on, however that’s why you employed Frank Reich, Thomas Brown and Josh McCown. The Panthers have a nucleus of playcalling and training that may not solely arrange success for Richardson, however give him individuals to lean on when issues don’t go completely.

It’s time the Panthers swung for the fences; that’s what buying and selling up for the primary choose is for. When you can line up the ball with the bat, Anthony Richardson can be a house run in Carolina.

James Dator, Panthers Fan, with the Verdict

I’ll be trustworthy: I went into the train with a preconceived notion. As a fan of the crew with the No. 1 choose it will be ridiculous to say that I don’t know about these guys and entered this tabula rasa.

Doing my greatest to utterly clear my thoughts and look solely on the arguments introduced right here, I’m deeply torn between two guys: C.J. Stroud and Anthony Richardson.

This isn’t a knock on Bryce Younger, and completely is a knock on Will Levis. Nothing about Mark’s argument for Levis convinces me that he’s value a No. 1 general choose. At greatest you’re rolling the cube and hoping for Josh Allen, and that’s too nice a danger with the primary choose — not to mention one it’s important to commerce up for.

JP’s argument for Younger is a very good one. I imply, who wouldn’t need Drew Brees as their quarterback? I’m actually nervous about his dimension. It’s not the peak, that half actually doesn’t trouble me — it’s that 204 kilos which Younger stood on from the mix. Sure, Drew was solely 5 kilos heavier, however my fear with Bryce not weighing once more at his Professional Day is absolutely questioning if he was deliberately carrying a ton of water weight, realizing his dimension could be scrutinized. If he’s really round 195 lbs or so, then actually, functionally, what occurs to a man with out elite escapability when he’s pushed into the bottom by a DT with 100 kilos on him? All of the smarts on the planet can’t cease you consuming one late hit, and that’s just a bit too slight for me to be comfy with.

So now we’ve Stroud and Richardson. That is tough. As a Panthers fan we’ve performed this dance on excessive upside and promise earlier than. It gave us the perfect quarterback within the historical past of the franchise. If the Carolina entrance workplace wasn’t pig-headed and really gave Cam Newton an offensive line he’d nonetheless be enjoying proper now, however as an alternative they considered the quarterback as a “Get Out of Jail Free” card for his or her woeful incapacity to construct safety for him.

Richardson legitimately has that “might take over the complete NFL” factor to his sport that’s unimaginable to disregard. That mentioned, this can be a totally different class to 2011. Again then it was Cam or Blaine Gabbert or Jake Locker. You had “potential famous person” in a single hand, and “in all probability mediocre” within the different. The danger made sense.

In 2023 I’m actually received over to the concept Stroud may very well be actually, actually good impartial of needing to take any danger. Mark satisfied me that at his worst Stroud goes to be a middling NFL starter, and at his greatest we may very well be taking a look at a extra athletic Joe Burrow. It won’t be “generational famous person” upside, however the danger is much decrease.

Contemplating not solely the necessity for a dependable QB proper now, but additionally the appreciable funding into the choose I’m able to render my verdict:

The Carolina Panthers ought to choose C.J. Stroud with the No. 1 general choose



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