Chicago Bears GM Ryan Poles was not shy on letting teams know that the top overall pick in this year’s draft was available to the highest bidder. At last week’s NFL combine, Poles met with several other GMs about possibly trading the pick to them.
On Friday, the Bears did just that trading the pick to the Carolina Panthers for multiple first-round picks, a second-round pick and talented wide receiver D.J. Moore giving starting quarterback Justin Fields a true No. 1 receiver.
The move further showed the belief the Bears brass has in Fields, something Poles has reiterated on many occasions.
The trade which was imminent based on what the aforementioned Poles has said over the last few weeks. But it’s who moved up to trade for that pick that’s sort of shocking. Coming into this draft, the belief was the Indianapolis Colts or Houston Texans might move up to the top spot. But both stood pat, and now first-year Panthers head coach Frank Reich will have the opportunity to take the quarterback of his choice.
In many ways the move could mean Ohio State gunslinger C.J. Stroud may go first overall, after months of hearing Alabama’s Bryce Young’s name mentioned as the top signal-caller in the draft. While that could still ring true, Young opted to wait until his pro day to throw, as Stroud went out and was nearly perfect.
Why The Panthers Would Take Stroud Over Young
Both signal-callers impressed Panthers brass at the NFL combine, both in meetings, and Stroud in his on-field performance. Young will have his chance at Alabama’s pro day on March 23. Stroud will throw a day before at his pro day. So with that first pick in tow, the Panthers will be the talk of the Alabama and Ohio State pro days.
Per reports, Stroud is the “QB of choice” by the aforementioned Reich. While Panthers owner David Tepper and GM Scott Fitterer favor, Young.
After meeting with Young at the Combine, Fitterer told reporters this:
“He’s just like chill. Nothing’s too big for him.”
Young’s only question mark is his size at 5 feet 10 and 204 pounds.
The same can be said for Stroud, who stands a sturdy 6 feet 3 and 218 pounds.
Usually when the brass can’t decide on a pick, the head coach whose responsibility is to coach and develop that player wins out. Meaning Reich, a QB guru, would get Stroud, but that remains to be seen.
Either Way The Panthers Will Be In Good Hands
Picking either is a good choice when you consider their game tape, skill set and upside. Both can run Reich’s uptempo and aggressive offense, one that requires a QB to play fast and with pace, meaning more responsibility at the line of scrimmage. It also wants to push the football downfield by using triangle reads in the vertical passing game.
QB must be able to throw the deep crosser and Sean routes. Both Stroud and Young specialize in those type throws.
The next 45 days will decide a lot, and for Stroud and Young it will decide which talented signal-caller will hear his name called first in April’s draft.