TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The Carolina Panthers traded for the No. 1 decide of the NFL draft to have a shot at Alabama’s Bryce Younger or Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud, and consecutive professional days for the quarterbacks solely strengthened that call.
Carolina’s giant professional day contingent that has included homeowners David and Nicole Tepper will proceed their analysis of the draft’s prime quarterbacks — Will Levis at Kentucky on Friday and Florida’s Anthony Richardson on March 30.
And whereas no person within the Carolina group formally dominated out Levis or Richardson, league sources indicated that it is a two-quarterback race for the highest decide.
Alabama coach Nick Saban believes Carolina noticed not solely the very best quarterback, however maybe the very best participant within the draft on Thursday.
Saban mentioned Younger’s processing is “off-the-charts good” and famous the 21-year-old performs quarterback like some extent guard in basketball.
“I am unable to work out the detrimental with who he’s and the way he prepares,” Saban mentioned.
The one detrimental is Younger’s peak. He is 5-foot-10 in a league the place the common peak of a quarterback is round 6-3. Stroud is 6-3.
“Hopefully, he’ll be the primary decide within the draft,” mentioned Saban, who hung out Thursday speaking to the Carolina contingent, together with Tepper and coach Frank Reich. “No one is aware of that for positive. However we’re actually hopeful, and we expect he is the very best participant within the draft.”
The Panthers have accomplished their greatest to downplay the importance of Younger’s peak. Reich, who hasn’t had a beginning quarterback shorter than 6-3 in 17 years as a coach, reminded earlier this week that he had a “very excessive” grade on Russell Wilson (5-11) when the nine-time Professional Bowler and Tremendous Bowl champion was drafted in 2012.
Common supervisor Scott Fitterer, who was on the Seattle workers that drafted Wilson within the third spherical, agreed.
“You simply discover ways to play with it,” he mentioned on Thursday of Younger’s peak. “You do not see balls getting knocked down. He has no downside seeing over the center of the sphere, processing. He is off the charts as a processor.
“I do not see peak as an element.”
Younger did have one cross knocked down Thursday — by the roof of Alabama’s observe facility on a deep cross. In any other case, he was spot on apart from three drops that each one hit the receivers within the palms.
He was, as Fitterer described on the NFL mix, “Simply chill … Nothing’s too large for him.”
Younger was so chill on Thursday that one analyst who attended each professional days gave Younger the benefit.
However the previous few days for Carolina was extra about attending to know Younger and Stroud higher as folks. Each had dinner the night time earlier than their exercises with the Teppers, Reich, Fitterer and others in a contingent that included 12 at Ohio State and 11 at Alabama.
The same solid will undergo the identical course of with Levis and Richardson.
The analysis course of is predicted to proceed for a number of extra weeks with all 4 quarterbacks coming to Charlotte, North Carolina, to go to the group facility earlier than the Panthers point out who they’ll choose.
Requested what he discovered the previous few days about Younger and Stroud that he did not already know, Fitterer did not hesitate.
“Simply how sensible they’re; how mature they’re for 21-year-olds,” he mentioned. “You are asking these guys to come back in and lead the franchise and be the face of the franchise at 21. How particular these guys are is what we’re studying.”
Younger and Stroud downplayed their case for being the highest decide, though Stroud admitted that is the place he’d prefer to go.
“It has been a dream of mine for a really, very very long time,” he mentioned Wednesday. “My dad used to make me put on a first-round draft decide, first decide of the draft shirt. It was both basketball or soccer. He set that basis early on.
“I undoubtedly wish to accomplish that.”
Stated Younger on Thursday, “I haven’t got an argument. I wish to current myself in the very best mild. However I do not management the place I am picked, who picks me. I am going to be thankful for no matter group takes an opportunity on me.”
Neither quarterback ran the 40-yard sprint at their professional day. Younger’s mobility by no means has been an element with NFL scouts who watched him prolong performs nicely sufficient the previous two seasons to throw for 8,200 yards and 79 touchdowns with solely 12 interceptions.
Stroud did not have to increase performs as a lot enjoying behind a extra secure line, significantly this previous season, that did not power him out of the pocket as a lot. However Stroud is assured he is cellular sufficient for the NFL.
“Not one of the groups requested me to,” Stroud mentioned when explaining his determination to not run on Wednesday. “If they might’ve, I might’ve. Once I want to increase performs, I can prolong them simply so far as anyone else within the nation.”
Each confirmed of their professional days they will throw on the run, throw at completely different angles and throw precisely deep.