2023 NFL draft: Latest on Carolina Panthers' No. 1 pick

Who's the favorite to be the Panthers' No. 1 pick? (1:10)

Adam Schefter explains why he is tabbing Bryce Young as the current favorite to be taken first overall by the Carolina Panthers. (1:10)

The Carolina Panthers now have the No. 1 pick in the 2023 NFL draft, and they will surely be targeting a quarterback prospect. The Panthers moved up from No. 9 overall in a trade with the Chicago Bears, who originally had the top pick after a 3-14 season.

Four quarterbacks have the chance to be the No. 1 selection as we move closer to the draft. Alabama's Bryce Young and Ohio State's C.J. Stroud are among the favorites, but there is also a chance that the Panthers fall in love with the potential of either Kentucky's Will Levis or Florida's Anthony Richardson. The Panthers have been searching for an answer under center for a while now, finishing 31st (27.6) and 30th (35.7) in Total QBR in the past two seasons, respectively. Four different quarterbacks have started at least five games for them over that time. This move gives Carolina the chance to find its franchise signal-caller.

As we move toward draft month, we're tracking all the latest news, buzz and rumors around who will go No. 1 overall, with insight from our NFL reporters, insiders, draft experts and sports betting analysts. Most recent updates are on top, and all betting updates are via Caesars Sportsbook.

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Friday, March 24

Todd McShay, NFL draft analyst: The Panthers moved from Columbus to Tuscaloosa, and their contingent went to dinner with Young the night before his Thursday workout. Carolina's group again included owner David Tepper, general manager Scott Fitterer, coach Frank Reich and others. Young didn't throw at the combine, so this was an opportunity for them to see him in that setting.

I've heard some buzz that Carolina likes Young at No. 1, but like I said Wednesday, the Panthers are going to put out a lot of smokescreens to keep the competition off the scent. And frankly, they are likely far from a final decision on who they want with the top draft pick. I know this: Carolina is blessed to have a really tough decision on its hands, because there are some really good quarterbacks atop this class.

Thursday, March 23

David Newton, Panthers reporter: Alabama coach Nick Saban believes Carolina saw not only the best quarterback, but perhaps the best player in the draft on Thursday.

"Hopefully, he'll be the first pick in the draft,'' said Saban, who spent time Thursday talking to the Carolina contingent, including Tepper and Reich. "Nobody knows that for sure. But we're certainly hopeful, and we think he's the best player in the draft.''

Young and Stroud downplayed their case for being the top pick, although Stroud admitted that's where he'd like to go.

"It's been a dream of mine for a very, very long time,'' he said Wednesday. "My dad used to make me wear a first-round draft pick, first pick of the draft shirt. It was either basketball or football. He set that foundation early on."

Said Young on Thursday, "I don't have an argument. I want to present myself in the best light. But I don't control where I'm picked, who picks me. I'll be grateful for whatever team takes a chance on me.''

Wednesday, March 22

Newton: Adam Thielen admittedly "was trying my hardest'' while being recruited by the Panthers to get a feel for which quarterback they planned to select with the top pick of the NFL draft.

"That was one piece of information they wouldn't give me,'' the former Minnesota Vikings wide receiver said with a laugh Monday on "The Pat McAfee Show."

Thielen signed a three-year, $25 million deal anyway because he liked what Fitterer and Reich had done in free agency.

"We really feel like we're putting this guy [the top pick of the draft] in a good position with some of the pieces we've signed,'' Reich said. "We're going to take every second, every hour, every day to make this decision. We've still got plenty of time left.''

McShay: I was told 18 people from the Panthers' organization were on-site for Stroud's pro day on Wednesday, including Tepper, his wife Nicole, Reich, Fitterer, offensive coordinator Thomas Brown and passing game coordinator Parks Frazier. Stroud had dinner with the Panthers' group on Tuesday night. It's not often we see owners at pro day workouts, but Tepper and Co. will continue on to the pro days for the rest of the top QBs, including Young's workout on Thursday in Alabama.

We also need to be prepared for Carolina to float rumors about different people within the organization having infatuations with each of the four top quarterbacks over the next few weeks. Could the Panthers even be putting pressure on the Texans, attempting to force Houston into trading up for the No. 1 pick and recovering some of the lost draft capital from their move up the board in early March?

Monday, March 20

Newton: Reich spoke on Monday and said that he hasn't ruled out any of the four quarterbacks targeted for the top pick of the draft. "When you have the No. 1 pick you don't have to play games, right?" Reich said. "It's not like we're trying to fool anybody. What we're trying to do is take all the time we can on the evaluation."

Fitterer and Reich both insisted all four quarterbacks were in play for the top pick. They also agreed that whoever that quarterback is, the roster has been built in free agency so that player has a chance to start right away despite the addition of veteran quarterback Andy Dalton. The Panthers will attend pro days of all four of the top quarterbacks and plan to bring all four to Charlotte for a visit as well.

Thursday, March 16

David Bearman, sports betting analyst: Stroud continues to move ahead as the betting favorite to be the No. 1 overall pick, now at -275. Young is second at +300, and Richardson is right behind him at +325. Levis is a distant fourth at +3000.

Tuesday, March 14

Adam Schefter, NFL insider: The Panthers and free agent quarterback Andy Dalton are expected to reach an agreement on a two-year, $10 million deal that includes $8 million fully guaranteed, a source told ESPN's Adam Schefter. The maximum value of the contract is $17 million, the source said. Dalton will give Carolina the veteran it has been seeking to help bring along the quarterback it selects with the No. 1 overall pick in the upcoming NFL draft. The Panthers are focused on Ohio State's Stroud and Alabama's Young with the first pick, according to sources, although they will continue to evaluate Florida's Richardson and Kentucky's Levis.

Friday, March 10

Bearman: Before the trade for the No. 1 pick, Alabama's Young was the odds-on favorite (-150) to be the first pick taken in April's draft. Ohio State's Stroud was the second favorite at +240. After Carolina traded up for the top pick, those two prospects flipped, with Stroud becoming the favorite (now -225) and Young second (+175). Florida's Richardson went from +450 to +300.

Newton: While Carolina hasn't settled on one of the top quarterbacks at this point, according to a source with direct knowledge of trade talks, it would be a hard sell to go with Florida's Richardson, who is considered more of a project. The early favorites to go No. 1 are Young and Stroud, who both seemed to impress the Carolina staff most at the NFL combine -- particularly Young.

Schefter: The Panthers traded receiver DJ Moore, the No. 9 pick, a late-second-round pick (No. 61), a 2024 first-round selection and a 2025 second-round pick to the Bears in exchange for the No. 1 selection. ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that talks for the No. 1 pick had intensified and multiple teams, including the Houston Texans, expressed interest in making a deal with Chicago. The Panthers ultimately pulled off the deal and wanted to get it done before free agency started.