Blockbuster Panthers Trade Shakes Up Next Month’s NFL Draft

If you are one of the many people who have cast an eye on next months NFL Draft, then you may well have decided to have a flutter on which player will be the number 1 overall pick.

This is one of a number of markets offered on next months draft with bet365 Sport.

Well, there’s some big news coming from the United States that could have a huge impact on which player will be one of the first taken with this pick.

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Bears Trade Away #1 Draft Pick For A Huge Haul Of Picks Plus A Key Wide Receiver

On the final day of the season, a surprise win for the Houston Texans combined with another defeat for the Chicago Bears meant that rather than the Texans, it would be the Illinois-based team that would be picking first in the NFL Draft in April this year.

That changed the focus of the draft markedly.

Unlike the Texans, who are clearly in the market for one of the top ranked quarterbacks in this year’s draft, the Bears are already sorted with their franchise QB of the future in Justin Fields.

With so many roster holes to fill, many pundits felt that rather than stay put and draft one of a couple of top defensive prospects, the Bears may well look to move down the draft and acquire some draft capital to try and give their QB the resources he needs to make the Bears a contender in the NFC North again.

Many felt that the Bears would trade with the Colts (who held the 4th pick) to allow Indianapolis to move above their divisional rivals, the Texans, to claim their QB of choice. Many also felt that the Texans may be equitable to moving up to number one to stop the Colts doing precisely that.

Others felt that by letting QB Derek Carr go, the Las Vegas Raiders, who held the 7th pick in the draft, may also be tempted to move up in the draft to claim their QB of the future, to serve the likes of Davante Adams, the wide receiver who the Raiders snapped up on a big contract from the Green Bay Packers last year.

But in the end, a trade deal was agreed with a team most people probably felt were out of the equation for top spot; the Carolina Panthers.

However, the deal did cost the Panthers a pretty penny in draft picks and players.

The Bears – Panthers Deal

The details of the deal are as follows:

Chicago Bears trades to Carolina Panthers:

  • 2023 #1 Pick in the NFL Draft

Carolina Panthers trades to Chicago Bears:

  • WR DJ Moore
  • 2023 #9 Pick in the NFL Draft (1st Round)
  • 2023 #61 Pick in the NFL Draft (2nd Round)
  • 2024 First Round Draft Pick
  • 2025 Second Round Draft Pick

That is a hefty price the Panthers have paid to move up eight places in the draft, with WR DJ Moore effectively being worth another first round pick, it means that the Panthers have given up the equivalent of three first rounders and two second rounders (in 2023 and 2025) in order to land the top spot in the draft.

Talks between the two teams had begun a couple of weeks previously, but they picked up late last week when the Panthers felt it would be good business to get the #1 pick snagged before the official start of Free Agency on Monday (today).

With their QB situation very much wide open, it is abundantly clear that the Panthers have given up so much to acquire their franchise quarterback moving forward.

They last picked first for a QB back in 2011 when they took Auburn QB Cam Newton, who led the team to the Super Bowl just a couple of years later.

Who Could The Panthers Select At Number 1?

It is pretty common knowledge that there are a number of potential options for the Panthers to select as their future franchise QB.

Bet365 Sport have installed CJ Stroud as their new 2/7 favourite to be picked first by the Panthers.

Alabama QB Bryce Young is 7/2 and the star of the recent NFL Combine, Anthony Richardson a now much shorter 4/1 shot. No doubt due to his athletic prowess being one of the big talking points of the combine.

Will Levis, the other quarterback expected to go in the first round, is now a 16/1 chance to be picked first.

That’s despite the Panthers believed to be keen on what the Kentucky QB brings to the table.

Ohio State’s CJ Stroud is rated by many as the most ready for NFL QB in the draft, he threw superbly well at the combine and there are no worries about his physical status.

His performance at the combine will have impressed any potential NFL suitors.

Bryce Young didn’t throw at the combine, which is probably why he has dropped down the pecking order. There are question marks about his height (5ft 10’) but he is ranked as the best QB in this year’s draft by many.

Anthony Richardson’s stock rose sharply after a stunning combine display which saw him smash a number of QB performance records where he showcased his incredible physicality. His passing wasn’t as sharp as Stroud’s though but many analysts feel he has the biggest potential upside of any QB in this year’s draft.

Finally, Will Levis is the outside bet of the four but it is known that the Panthers were very keen on the Kentucky star, who small number of people grade as potentially the best QB from this draft.

But that may have been in the belief that Levis would still be available for them when they picked from their original position at 9th in the draft.

Who Would I Bet On For The Panthers Pick?

The bookmakers are hot on CJ Stroud after his impressive combine display of passing.

But my gut feeling is that the Panthers may look to their most successful draft pick Cam Newton for inspiration here.

That would bring Anthony Richardson into the conversation given his incredible physical stats and speed.

Richardson would need work – His passing needs to be improved across all ranges. Additionally, there are small technical changes he could make to his throwing motion to help him be more accurate.

The question is whether the Panthers want an NFL day one ready to go QB in the shape of Stroud or Young, or one who may need to sit behind a veteran for a year to develop, but who may end up being better than either of the other two picks in the NFL.

At the moment, I feel the Panthers are leaning towards Stroud, with Young and Richardson also providing great interest to them as they evaluate all their options this month.

An Alternate Option?

One alternative option for the Panthers could be that if by the time of the draft they are still high on more than one of the QB options, they could see if any team is open to trading from 2nd, 3rd or maybe even 4th in the draft up to number one.

That way the Panthers could claw back some of the draft picks they have traded away and potentially land a QB they are happy with.

To me, that is unlikely as they have given up so much to acquire that right to the first pick that to not take advantage of it, would seem to be counter productive.

One thing is certain, this massive trade has shaken up the NFL Draft next month already and with Free Agency opening today, we may well see some more major moves over the coming weeks that could change the look and feel of the draft this year still further.

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