The Carolina Panthers gave up a lot to move from the ninth pick to the first pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, in hopes that with great risk comes great reward. Monday, Panthers’ head coach Frank Reich and general manager Scott Fitterer talked about the trade and other offseason moves the team has made. Here are three new things we learned during the press conference:
Initial talks about acquiring the number one pick started at the beginning of March during the NFL Combine. After speaking with a few teams about moving up in draft to a position that would allow them to select a quarterback, Scott Fitterer said he and sat down with Bears’ general manager Ryan Poles to discuss a potential trade for their top pick. That week, Fitterer and Poles met several times to discuss potential compensation. Talks continued after the combine, before the teams eventually reached an agreement.
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The Panthers are looking to building a roster talented enough that a quarterback can be in inserted and the team be competitive right away. Solidifying the offensive line with the resigning of Bradley Bozeman, bringing in 1,200-yard running back Miles Sanders, signing sure-handed Hayden Hurst and agreeing to terms with veteran wide out Adam Thielen were all moves Carolina made to help their top pick be successful in year one.
“Everything we’ve done is to basically support that position,” Fitterer said. “We’ve added receivers, tight ends, running backs; all of these positions to give whoever is at quarterback the best opportunity for success.”
“We really feel like we’re putting this guy in a good position with some of the pieces we’re signed,” head coach Frank Reich said. “I feel like we’re putting pieces in place that he can walk in and be ready to go.”
Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper was very influential in the team aggressively trading for the #1 pick.
“We knew nine was a hard spot to be at,” Reich said when asked how his perspective has changed going in the draft with the top pick. “We had other options to get up and looked at all of those. This is where Mr. Tepper had good insight into the process as we evaluated those options. His analysis of those options was spot on and kind of pushed us to the right decision to get up to number one and be in control.”
It’s no surprise that a man who amassed his wealth as a hedge fund manager would encourage a move that would put the Panthers in the drivers seat – allowing them draft their guy without worry. Now, let the speculation continue for the next month and a half about who that guy will be.