The Carolina Panthers season is effectively over, which means it’s time for fans to start looking forward to the 2023 campaign. The fine folks at Pro Football Network recently released a mock draft and, according to their experts, the Panthers could select superstar quarterback Anthony Richardson with their first-round pick.
Carolina Panthers Paired With QB Anthony Richardson in 2023 Mock Draft
It should go without saying that the Carolina Panthers need a quarterback. Now that the Baker Mayfield experiment is officially over, the Panthers need to once again begin their quest to find a franchise quarterback, and Anthony Richardson has the talent to be the long-awaited heir to Cam Newton.
Based purely on physical tools, Anthony Richardson is the best quarterback in this class by a wide margin. His arm strength is second to none, and he’s nearly impossible to take down in the open field. At 6′-4″ and 231 pounds, the Florida product has the physical ability to make every possible play, and his highlight package is as good as anyone in the draft.
— WBG84 (@WBG84) December 5, 2022
Richardson’s elite traits easily provide a ridiculously high ceiling, but there is a reason he’s the third quarterback off the board in this mock draft. While he has the ability to do anything, he fails to consistently perform at a high level. His accuracy comes and goes, and he’s still working on processing the game. His ability to do anything can be a double-edged sword, as he sometimes relies too much on his physical skills and tries to make something out of nothing, rather than take what’s given.
I’m just trying to understand what Anthony Richardson thought would happen on this play besides the obvious interception. pic.twitter.com/pHnJ20vomt
— CFBLIVE247 (@CFBLive247_) October 3, 2022
If this scouting report sounds familiar to you, that’s because you probably heard something similar to it over a decade ago. The similarities between Anthony Richardson and Cam Newton are hard to ignore, as both quarterbacks were boom-or-bust prospects with elite physical traits and accuracy concerns.
Needless to say, the Panthers made the right choice betting on Newton all those years ago. However, just because it worked before, doesn’t mean it will work again. Scouting is a highly inexact science, especially at the quarterback position. So, if the Panthers select Richardson, what should they do to increase his odds of turning into a franchise quarterback?
How the Carolina Panthers Can Help Anthony Richardson
Back in 2011, the Panthers decided that Cam Newton didn’t need to face off against any real competition prior to winning the starting job. While that worked out well, it would be unwise for the Panthers to go down that road again. While some rookies are ready to go right out of the gate, others need competition and could benefit from some time on the bench. For example, Zach Wilson clearly bit off more than he could chew in New York, and perhaps his career would have been different if he had started on the bench, learning how to handle NFL life.
Anthony Richardson should start for the Panthers as soon as he’s ready. If that’s Week 1, great. If it’s not, then the Panthers need to have someone that can serve as a bridge quarterback. Sam Darnold and P.J. Walker are both set to hit unrestricted free agency, and neither player inspires confidence as a short-term option. Perhaps one of them could come back to compete, but the Panthers should try to sign someone like Jacoby Brissett instead.
Of course, a bit part of ensuring Richardson reaches his ceiling is hiring a head coach that can make the most of his talents. The Panthers need to go after someone like Philadelphia Eagles offensive coordinator Shane Steichen. Steichen has done a phenomenal job with Jalen Hurts, a player with a similar skillset to Richardson. If he can repeat his magic, then the Panthers should be in good shape for the immediate future.
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