Which Teams Need a QB in the 2023 NFL Draft? Panthers, Colts Among Many

The Carolina Panthers and Indianapolis Colts highlight NFL franchises that need a new franchise quarterback heading into the 2023 NFL Draft.

The NFL Draft provides an opportunity for NFL teams to add artillery to a playoff-ready roster or find pieces to elevate their franchise from mediocre to postseason bound. What’s more likely, a team at the top of the NFL Draft Order is in search of a cornerstone to build around.

Typically, that player is a quarterback. This year’s NFL Draft has a few worthy of being selected at the top of the draft. Whether it is Bryce Young, C.J. Stroud, or perhaps a dark horse, there are several teams hoping to call their name out on draft night.

QB-Needy Teams in the 2023 NFL Draft

Two teams stick out in particular as QB-needy teams in the 2023 NFL Draft. One just hired the former head coach of the other. The other just hired the former offensive coordinator of the NFC Champion Philadelphia Eagles. Both coaches have a reputation for being able to develop young quarterbacks. Ironically, they both developed that reputation in Philadelphia and will put it to the test in different cities.

Below, we’ll examine the specific needs of each team and determine which of the draft’s top quarterbacks would be the perfect fit.

Indianapolis Colts

The Indianapolis Colts decided to stay put at No. 4 overall in the NFL Draft rather than trade up to No. 1 with the Chicago Bears. Doing so would have given them the opportunity to select any of the quarterbacks they wanted. The Bears have since traded the pick to the Carolina Panthers, resulting in all eyes shifting to Arizona’s No. 3 pick.

The Cardinals are seemingly set at quarterback, if for no other reason than the contract they gave Kyler Murray. This is significant because a team looking to get one of the top three quarterbacks in this NFL Draft will need to get to that slot in order to do it. Doing so would simultaneously leave the Colts with the fourth-best option at quarterback.

If consensus is to be believed, and often it shouldn’t be with the NFL Draft, some combination of Young and Stroud is going within the first two picks. A team trading to No. 3 with Arizona would presumably select between Will Levis and Anthony Richardson.

MORE: FREE Mock Draft Simulator With Trades

This means at No. 4, the Colts will be stuck with whoever the odd man out is going to be. It is possible it’s the guy they would have taken at No. 1 had they moved up, but that possibility is completely out of their hands now.

The quarterback I like the most for them in the NFL Draft is Anthony Richardson. He comes into the league with a similar profile as Jalen Hurts did. He needs polishing as a passer but brings a ridiculous athletic profile to the table, even more so than Hurts.

Head coach Shane Steichen worked wonders by designing an offense for Hurts that fit his profile but also allowed for ongoing development in the passing game.

Hurts also benefited from the addition of A.J. Brown — a big-bodied receiver who can “go get it.” The Colts have that in Michael Pittman Jr. This offense also opened up a running game in Philly that averaged 4.7 yards per rush. With stud Jonathan Taylor already in the fold, Richardson could allow Steichen to pick up right where he left off.

Carolina Panthers

The Panthers took their destiny into their own hands and traded with the Bears to secure the No. 1 pick in this year’s NFL Draft. Carolina will be able to decide who they want and ensure they get him. Head coach Frank Reich, who spent the previous five seasons as the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts, will spend time with each of the big four quarterbacks and determine which one will be the best option for a rebuilding Panthers team.

Reich cut his teeth in Philly as the offensive coordinator of the Super Bowl champion Eagles back in 2018. He developed a reputation for the development of Carson Wentz, who was en route to an MVP trophy prior to a season-ending injury. When backup Nick Foles stepped in and completed the championship campaign, Reich received much of the credit for his preparedness and ability to get it done.

His record with the Colts was a bit more up and down in terms of development. After Andrew Luck abruptly retired, the Colts and Reich seemingly were content on filling the role with veterans on their last legs to be their starting QBs. Philip Rivers led them to a playoff berth before he retired. Then a reunion with Wentz went about how you might think, given Wentz is now not there anymore. Matt Ryan also hoped for an encore in Indy.

MORE: When Is the 2023 NFL Draft? Dates, Draft Order, Location, and More

What plagued those efforts more than anything was poor offensive line play. As great as the line is at run blocking, in pass protection, they were an abject disaster. When I speak to players in the organization, this was something picked up on even in practice. The Panthers do not have a strong offensive line either. Upgrades will be needed there as well.

This leads me to believe that Stroud would be the best fit for the team coming out of the NFL Draft. PFN’s Tony Pauline reported that the Panthers were seriously considering him at first overall, and he is set to visit with the team soon. Stroud has a polished passing game and body type Reich likes to work with. He is partial to pocket passers who can get the ball out on time following the correct order of the passing reads.

Young possesses these passing traits as well and brings a rushing element teams love. Yet, his size is a legitimate concern, which he only made larger by adding weight for the Combine, then not throwing, then throwing at his pro day but not weighing in.

Reich has exclusively worked with the prototype size, and the margin between Stroud and Young isn’t great enough for him to deviate. Both players light up the interview room and would make a great franchise cornerstone.

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