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NFL Draft preview

Isaac Bean

Anchor Staff Writer

Photo via Lucas Andrade/Pexels

This upcoming Thursday is one of the most exciting days for most sports fans: The first round of the NFL Draft. This is the day where the NFL gets some of the top college prospects and get to see them develop into potential superstars. Although there is no exact science to the NFL draft, this is the weekend where many teams can jump start their development for years.

The first overall pick is a huge discussion every year. Some years there is a generational player – the player that no one can pass up on. In 2021, this was Trevor Lawrence. In 1999, it was Peyton Manning. Those are the years where the team that was picking number one selected those players.

This year is different. For the first time since 2016, a team traded up to number one, with that team being the Carolina Panthers who traded up looking to get their future quarterback. This year’s draft does not have a clear-cut number one option at quarterback. A lot of people have differing opinions about who the best quarterback in the draft really is.

So, who will the Panthers draft? There are a couple of options, with the most likely being quarterback Bryce Young from Alabama. Young was the Heisman Trophy winner for the 2021 college football season and has had an incredible college career. In theory, based on his success he should be the generational, can’t-miss player that a team dreams of. Unfortunately, Young lacks prototypical height and size. Despite his lack of size, Young is still the betting favorite to end up being the Panthers’ quarterback by the end of Thursday night.

Another option the Panthers could be looking into is CJ Stroud from Ohio State. Stroud has been a standout for the Buckeyes these past two seasons. In those two seasons, Stroud threw an incredible 85 touchdowns and 8,123 yards. Unlike Young, Stroud has the prototypical size that most pro quarterbacks have.

The issue with Stroud is that his program has had incredible receivers. These receivers get wide open which makes it so Stroud has easy decisions to make. There has also been a stigma around Ohio State quarterbacks because there have been few that have actually worked out.

The last real option for the Panthers is Anthony Richardson out of Florida. Richardson is probably the most unique quarterback prospect ever. Richardson, unlike Young and Stroud, has had little success on the college level, playing only one year at the University of Florida.

In that one year, Richardson had a season that was not spectacular by any means statistically. Despite the lack of production, Richardson is probably the most physically gifted quarterback of all time. He has a huge arm, the size the scouts dream of and is incredibly fast on top of that. Richardson really is a player that is created in a video game. Having all his potential, Richardson could become one of the best quarterbacks to ever play the game. There is a risk to Richardson, however: He is not ready to play right out of college. Richardson is a risky pick, but the risk could be worth taking.

Another story to look into is the Aaron Rodgers trade saga. The trade is still not done between the Green Bay Packers and New York Jets. As the Draft is right around the corner, both teams have very little time to get this trade done. Will this trade get done before Thursday night? Or will it be another let down for the Jets?

Football fans have multiple ways to tune into this year’s draft such as on ABC, ESPN and through the NFL Network.


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