Did the Panthers Want To Draft C.J. Stroud? Carolina Owner David Tepper Reveals Original Draft Plans, Head Coach Search, and More

Was C.J. Stroud almost a Carolina Panther? According to Panthers owner David Tepper, it almost happened. Let's take a look at his latest comments.

Whether it is fair or not, Carolina Panthers quarterback Bryce Young and Houston Texans quarterback C.J. Stroud will forever be compared to one another. The first and second picks in the 2023 NFL Draft, respectively, will always be analyzed together as they followed one another in the draft order.

Hindsight is always 20/20, but time always provides clarity, especially when it comes to draft picks. However, for such conversation between the two to be ongoing during their first seasons — mainly due to the instant success Stroud has been having — it can raise a few eyebrows.

Panthers owner David Tepper met with the media today following the firing of head coach Frank Reich yesterday and touched on the quarterback comparison, the coaching decision, and many other things.

David Tepper Met With the Media

A lot has transpired for the Panthers over the last 24 hours. They are once again looking for a new head coach, and with a 1-10 start to the season, there are far more questions than answers right now. As a result, Tepper met with the media for the first time since letting their head coach. While he had a lot to say about the move, it wasn’t the only topic he gave an interesting answer to.

Naturally, one of the first questions asked to Tepper was regarding the dismissal of Reich and what he is looking for in a new head coach. Tepper made it known that his hopes are that the next one is the last one of his lifetime.

“I would like someone to be here 20, 30 years. I’d like to have someone say the eulogy at my funeral in 30 years. OK, maybe 40 years.”

While it has been a revolving door of coaches coming in and out of Carolina since Tepper has taken over, he makes it clear that is not at all how he wants to run the team.

While Tepper answered with honesty and humor when it came to the coaching questions, he had one answer regarding the quarterback position that caught many people’s attention.

MORE: PFN’s FREE NFL Playoff Predictor

“It’s been reported and we talk about it… originally we were going to go with the number two pick and we thought we would get C.J.,” Tepper started. “Listen, we prefer Bryce, he was our number one pick, we had a lot of conviction.”

The comment bodes as a boost of confidence in Bryce while also at the same time providing a glimpse at what could have been with the blazing hot start Stroud has been on for the start of his career.

A lot can and will unfold over the years, but for those around the Panthers and the Texans, there will be a lot of eyes on these two careers to see if the right decision was made.

Want to predict the rest of the 2023 season with our FREE NFL Playoff Predictor? Looking for the most up-to-date NFL standings? What about a breakdown of team depth charts or the NFL schedule? Pro Football Network has you covered with that and more! 

Listen to the PFN Inside Access Podcast!

Listen to the PFN Inside Access Podcast! Click the embedded player below to listen, or you can find the PFN Fantasy Podcast on iTunes, Spotify, and all major podcast platforms.  Be sure to subscribe and leave us a five-star review!

Join the Conversation!

Related Articles