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Panthers 2023 mock draft 5.0: Swing for the fences edition

By Anthony Rizzuti,


Last Friday, the Carolina Panthers swung for the fences—and cleared them.

The team’s stunning acquisition of the 2023’s No. 1 overall pick was just the latest—and perhaps greatest—hit of what’s been a bold offseason. Between wrangling together an all-star coaching staff and taking control of the upcoming NFL draft, the Panthers are going all out.

So, for our newest mock, we’ll keep with that approach. Let’s risk it for the biscuit and go for some of this year’s most appealing upside.

Pick No. 1 (First round): Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida
Doug Engle/Gainesville Sun

Bryce Young may show most poise and CJ Stroud may throw the prettiest ball, but neither have the highest ceiling in the class. That faculty, instead, belongs to Richardson.

The 6-foot-4, 244-pound dynamo put on one of the most prolific combine performances for a quarterback ever. His record-breaking testing earned him a 10.00 Relative Athletic Score (RAS) and nearly filled out the entirety of his web over at MockDraftable.

Richardson’s powerful arm, electric legs and alien-like athleticism make him the most potent passer of the draft. But is that all enough to overlook his inexperience as a starter and his inconsistent mechanics as a thrower?

Pick No. 39 (Second round): Jalin Hyatt, WR, Tennessee
Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

There might not be a bigger home run hitter in 2023 than this kid, who may remind some of DeSean Jackson and may remind Panthers fans of 2015 Ted Ginn Jr.

Hyatt—six-feet and 176 pounds—is noticeably long for his size. That, coupled with his also very noticeable speed, makes him a threat whenever he’s on the field and could give Carolina the burners they’ve been looking for at the position.

Pick No. 93 (Third round): A.T. Perry, WR, Wake Forest
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In case you forgot, the Panthers had to relinquish DJ Moore in their trade for the first overall pick. So, we could see a double-dip to fill the void.

The 6-foot-3 Perry could certainly help, and add some much needed height to the spot. His huge catch radius, control over his above-average length and ability to separate with or without the rock can help him become an exceptionally solid X receiver in the pros.

Pick No. 114 (Fourth round): Zach Harrison, DE, Ohio State
Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Speaking of length, look at this dude’s arms.

Harrison is a physical specimen, as he measured in at 6-foot-5 and 274 pounds with an 85.5-inch wingspan. He’s also startling athletic for his size, making him an intriguing option as a defensive end in Carolina’s new 3-4 base.

Pick No. 132 (Fourth round): Keaton Mitchell, RB, East Carolina
Christopher Creveling-USA TODAY Sports

At 5-foot-8 and 179 pounds, Mitchell—obviously—isn’t the biggest back you can find. But good luck finding him when he has the ball in his hands.

The East Carolina star is an absolute blazer and a threat to hit the end zone when he gets a touch. So while he may not be an every-down rusher at the next level, Mitchell is an x-factor—on the ground or even through the air—that can get an offense going.

Pick No. 145: Zack Kuntz, TE, Old Dominion
Matthew O’Haren-USA TODAY Sports

Just like his size, you can find this 6-foot-7, 255-pounder’s athleticism somewhere off the charts. Kuntz rolled out of Indianapolis having tested in the 91st percentile or above in the 40-yard dash, 10-yard split, vertical jump, broad jump, 3-cone drill and 20-yard shuttle.

The former Penn State Nittany Lion and Old Dominion Monarch didn’t exactly light up the box scores like he did the combine. But with a little patience and development, he could become a unique and effective weapon in the NFL.

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