The NFL draft is drawing nearer and franchises have been scrambling to nail down their wish list of selections. Unarguably, the biggest move made in recent weeks was the Carolina Panthers trade with the Chicago Bears to take the latter's No. 1 pick in pursuit of Ohio State QB C.J. Stroud.
The Panthers brought out the brass to see Stroud perform at his Pro Day workout on Wednesday, March 22 in Columbus.
A look into Stroud’s pro day https://t.co/gnbbNtnQki— Carolina Panthers (@Panthers) March 23, 2023
In exchange for the No. 1 pick, the Bears received Carolina's first-round pick next year, in addition to the No. 9 and No. 61 picks this year, and their second-round pick in 2025.
Last but not least, the Bears also get wide receiver DJ Moore whom the Panthers drafted in the first round in 2018. Just a year ago, Carolina extended his contract through 2025 at the tune of $61.9 million. In five seasons, Moore has racked up 5,201 receiving yards with 21 TD's.
FanDuel Sportsbook now lists Stroud with best odds of being taken in the first pick at minus-250 while Alabama QB Bryce Young is at plus-200 and the mock drafts have him going to the Houston Texans with the No. 2 pick.
A lot of the argument between the two star college signal-callers is over each player's size. Stroud weighed in at a chiseled 214 pounds on his 6'3" frame at the NFL combine in early March. Young's measurements were 5'10-1/8 and 204 pounds.
Regardless of size, no one can argue their success in college.
Bryce Young was the Heisman winner in 2021 and received the 6th-most votes in the 2022 balloting.
Stroud didn't collect the top individual hardware, but collected the 4th-most votes in 2021 and the 3rd-highest total in 2022.
Over the two years, Young the Heisman pick on 701 ballots vs. Stroud on a two-year total of 49.
Respectively, Stroud and Young were 16th and 17th in the nation in passing yards per game a year ago, but 1st and 9th in Passer Rating.
In his two seasons as the starting QB for Ryan Day with the Buckeyes, Stroud completed 552-of-796 passes (69.3%) for 7,775 yards with an 81-12 touchdown-turnover ratio. He was 21-4 as a starter, with two of those coming in his final two games - to Michigan in the 2022 regular season finale, and a 42-41 heartbreaker to Georgia in the College Football Playoff semifinal at the Peach Bowl.
One could say the losses to Michigan hurt Buckeye Nation as they came by a total of 37 points and ended Ohio State's domination of the rivalry. A 42-27 defeat at Ann Arbor in 2021 was followed up by 45-23 loss at home last November.
For the Crimson Tide, Young had similar numbers. He was 23-4 as the starter while completing 624-of-949 passes (65.8%) for 8.356 yards with 80 TD's and 12 INT's.
It seems clear that the Panthers and Texans are each going to land a great NFL prospect and it will be fun to watch their development as they transition to the NFL. The question becomes whether or not they can morph into a Tom Brady or a Patrick Mahomes and bring a Super Bowl win to a pair of franchises that have none.
The Panthers have at least been on the big stage twice, falling to a young Brady's Patriots in 2004 and Peyton Manning's Broncos in 2016.
The Texans have never made it and are just 4-6 all-time in the NFL Playoffs.