USA TODAY International Edition
Panthers, Reich weigh quarterback options at No. 1
The Carolina Panthers, owners of the No. 1 overall selection in the NFL draft, will do their due diligence on quarterbacks.
Head coach Frank Reich took over the franchise this offseason and held a news conference Monday in which he detailed some of the team’s approach to the pick, which it acquired in a trade March 10 from the Chicago Bears.
As part of that, Reich confirmed that the Panthers would bring in each of the top four quarterbacks available in the draft for visits to the team’s facility in downtown Charlotte, North Carolina. He also said the team would look into virtual visits to have “multiple touch points” with the prospects.
Those four players are widely believed to be Bryce Young of Alabama, C. J. Stroud of Ohio State, Anthony Richardson of Florida and Will Levis of Kentucky. General manager Scott Fitterer confirmed Monday he would attend the forthcoming pro days for all four quarterbacks.
“That’s the thing when you have the No. 1 pick, we don’t have to play games,” Reich said. “It’s not like we’re trying to fool anybody. What we’re trying to do is take all the time we can on the evaluation. ...
“I think they all have really good traits. I’m excited about all of them. I do believe all four of these guys will make an impact in this league.”
What traits are Carolina considering?
As NFL teams typically are with their draft strategy, Reich declined to address which specific traits the team prefers in its quarterbacks. Speaking in general terms, Reich said Carolina is seeking a leader and playmaker.
“The thing is, if there’s 10 categories that you look at in a quarterback, or any player for that matter, the real question is not how to evaluate each of those categories, I mean that’s part of the question, but a big part of the question is how much are you going to weigh each of those categories,” Reich said.
Historically, Reich has worked with taller quarterbacks both as an offensive coordinator and head coach. He has instructed Carson Wentz ( 6- foot- 5), Nick Foles ( 6- 6), Andrew Luck ( 6- 4), Jacoby Brissett ( 6- 4), Philip Rivers ( 6- 5) and Matt Ryan ( 6- 4), among others.
“I had a very high grade on Russell Wilson, but don’t read anything into that,” Reich said. “All these people are putting a label on me that I only work with tall quarterbacks – don’t read anything into that.”
Will drafted QB start right away?
The Panthers also signed veteran passer Andy Dalton on March 14 to a two- year deal. He joins Matt Corral and Jacob Eason as the quarterbacks currently on the roster, though Dalton is presumed to be the one who would compete with the eventual rookie quarterback for playing time.
“Ideally, you want to play the ( rookie) when he’s ready, when the team’s ready,” Reich said. “It’s not just the player, it’s the team. We’ll evaluate that; I have thoughts in my mind about how I see that playing out, but I think we have to let it play out.”