The Carolina Panthers took control of the 2023 NFL Draft Friday by moving up to No. 1 in a trade with the Chicago Bears. Carolina received pick No. 9 and 61 in this year’s draft, a first-round pick in 2024, a second-rounder in ‘25, and DJ Moore, an established wide receiver.
Carolina was able to use some of the picks they acquired from the 49ers in the Christian McCaffrey deal to pull this trade off.
That’s as close to a Trey Lance trade as we’ve seen. And when you add in Moore and his contract, the deal might be bigger. Now, Panthers fans can debate whether they gave up two first-round picks or swapped them in the same way 49ers fans did.
I’d guess the Panthers are moving up for C.J. Stroud. Anthony Richardson isn’t worthy of the top pick in my eyes due to inaccuracy and not having a grasp on how to play the position. Those are areas Stroud excels, and we’ve seen him play his best in the biggest games.
Finally, one last 49ers connection. This takes Jimmy Garoppolo out of the running for the Panthers job. The quarterback market is drying up. Seattle brought back Geno Smith, the Saints signed Derek Carr, and the Dolphins picked up Tua’s fifth-year option.