Panthers remain undecided on top pick

With just over a week left before the NFL draft, the team has not decided who to select with the first overall pick.

The team is expected to pick its next franchise quarterback and is still going “through the process” of evaluating the top prospects, Panthers General Manager Scott Fitterer said at a press conference Tuesday.

Why it matters: The last time the Panthers had the top overall pick was in 2011 when they selected Cam Newton, the team’s last franchise signal caller.

The Panthers acquired the top pick from the Chicago Bears in March, trading away the ninth and 63rd pick in this year’s draft, a first-round pick from next year’s draft, a second-round in 2025, and star receiver DJ Moore.

Four quarterbacks are expected to be selected in the first round: Alabama’s Bryce Young, Ohio State’s CJ Stroud,  Florida’s Anthony Richardson and Kentucky’s Will Levis. The team has evaluated each of these prospects.

The Panthers have made numerous trips and conducted several interviews this offseason, giving them a better idea of who they might select. 

“Since February, at the combine and everything else, there has been some clarity,” Fitterer said.

Young has been the odds-on favorite to be the top pick, according to several draft experts.

Owner David Tepper and his wife Nicole Tepper have been very hands-on this offseason, but Fitterer said he and Head Coach Frank Reich will make the final decision on the selection.

The team has provided much-needed help to whoever the quarterback will be by adding other players.

The Panthers have added four receivers through free agency — wide receivers Adam Thielen, DJ Chark and Damiere Byrd as well as tight end Hayden Hurst and running back Miles Sanders.

Fitterer said those signings fill in needs and allow them to draft the best player available with each pick. 

The team will look to add depth at the offensive line, receivers and linebackers, Fitterer said.

“No team’s ever complete, and you can always add whoever,” he said.

The NFL draft begins Thursday, April 27 and will be broadcast on ESPN and ABC.

The team will host a draft day party at Bank of America Stadium, opening gates at 6:30 p.m. 

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