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2023 NFL Draft News: Carolina Panthers trade up to No. 1 overall pick

Former Seahawks executive Scott Fitterer has made a huge move as Panthers GM.

Chicago Bears v Carolina Panthers Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

The Chicago Bears were never likely to draft a quarterback with the first pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, so trading down was always in the cards. It didn’t take all that long for the Bears to find their ideal trade.

The Carolina Panthers are now on the clock with the top pick, having moved up from 9th overall. They also gave up the 61st overall pick they had as part of the Christian McCaffrey trade, next year’s first-rounder, a 2025 second-rounder, and wide receiver DJ Moore. Beyond the pick, Moore has been a really good receiver in Carolina and he should be a major upgrade at the position for Justin Fields and the Bears.

Of course, Panthers GM Scott Fitterer used to be with the Seattle Seahawks in various front office and scouting roles, including Vice President of Player Personnel before he took the Panthers job in 2021. This is a massive move as Carolina looks for its first playoff appearance since 2017.

There is no way the Panthers traded up that high to take anyone else but a quarterback, so if the order stays as Panthers, Texans, Cardinals, and Colts, just assume that three quarterbacks are going off the board before the Seattle Seahawks are on the clock. We might very well see Anthony Richardson, who broke Cam Newton’s vertical leap record for quarterbacks at the NFL combine, and who’s also drawn his own comparison to Cam, be the top player selected as a result of this deal. At the very least, it’ll definitely be one of him, C.J. Stroud, Will Levis, or Bryce Young based on this deal.

The only thing standing in the way of a potential QB-QB-QB-QB string in the top four are the Arizona Cardinals, who have an injured Kyler Murray at the moment but there’s no indication they’re looking at taking another quarterback. If they trade down from 3rd with, say, the Las Vegas Raiders, then surely it’s going to be a QB quartet before Seattle is on the clock.

Let the wheeling and dealing season begin!