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NFL Draft insider says growing ‘buzz’ Carolina Panthers go in a new direction with No.1 pick

The Carolina Panthers paid a significant price to move up for the first overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. After watching Bryce Young, Will Levis and C.J. Stroud impress at their separate Pro Days, it appears a new favorite might be emerging to be selected No. 1 overall.

After acquiring the first pick, Carolina initially expressed a willingness to trade down a few spots. The organization wanted to recoup some of the draft capital it lost by trading up, creating a willingness to move down one or two spots if the right offer came along.

Related: Carolina Panthers mock draft 2023

With the Houston Texans seemingly locked in on not trading up for a quarterback, it appears the Panthers will likely stay put. It puts general manager Scott Fitterer and head coach Frank Reich in the position of deciding which of the top quarterback prospects to take.

NFL Draft rumors have suggested for weeks that Carolina is leaning towards Stroud. The Ohio State quarterback delivered an outstanding performance at his Pro Day and met with Panthers’ officials before the workout.

However, Todd McShay of ESPN reported there is a buzz around the NFL this weekend that the Panthers now like Young over Stroud.

Related: Carolina Panthers draft picks 2023

Both quarterbacks delivered strong performances at their Pro Day, with teams buzzing about each of the franchise-caliber passers. Young also received glowing praise from coach Nick Saban, specifically mentioning his work ethic and understanding of the game.

While there remains some debate within the Panthers’ organization over Stroud vs Young, reporting from ESPN and NFL Network both make it clear what is expected around the league. Stroud and Young will be the first two picks in the 2023 NFL Draft, with the Panthers taking their highest-graded quarterback and the Texans selecting whichever of the two is remaining.

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If that proves to be the case on draft night, the Arizona Cardinals will field offers for the third overall pick with the hope one team is willing to pay up to jump ahead of the Indianapolis Colts for Levis or Anthony Richardson.