Hey, if you got a Break, Take it! Spring forward!
BB and I were grabbing an early dinner at Stonewerks Friday when I glanced at the tv over the nearby bar.
Holy moly! The Bears reportedly had traded the number one pick to the Panthers. Oh, this is gonna get fun. The intrigue is just starting.
First the details. Chicago gets Carolina’s first-round pick at number nine, a second-rounder at 61, Carolina’s first-rounder in 2024, the Panthers’ second-round selection in 2025, and veteran receiver D.J. Moore.
Let the unpacking begin. Among other things, this means:
The Bears are now officially committed to quarterback Justin Fields, and now they have significant draft capital to build around him.
The Texans, who have the second selection, are not currently guaranteed they’ll get the QB they want.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that Houston did contact the Bears about trading up, but it was Carolina that was able to reach a deal with the Bears.
There is, of course, no doubt the Panthers will take a quarterback. But there is considerable doubt and mystery about who that will be. Carolina head coach Frank Reich built an NFL reputation as a quarterback guru, but he had a miserable experience at QB in Indy, which ultimately got him fired. I’m guessing Reich still has nightmares about Carson Wentz and Matt Ryan.
Reich is bound and determined not to be stuck in QB Hell again. He now has plenty of options. If Carolina gets it right at QB, the Panthers could get pretty good pretty quickly.
So. Bryce Young? C.J. Stroud? Will Levis? Reich and the Panthers reportedly like all of them, whatever that means. If they genuinely would be happy with any of the three, the Panthers could conceivably now trade down a few spots before the April 27 draft. And that might then mean the Texans could still move up to the top spot.
But let’s get real. No coaches and g.m.’s EVER “like them all the same and would be happy with any of them.” That notion is a media and fan fabrication. No. You rank players. There is a guy the Panthers want. I strongly suspect it’s either Stroud or Levis. Young does not strike me as a Frank Reich quarterback.
So, if the Panthers stand pat and stay at number one, Houston will still have ample qb options with the second selection. But THE guy the Texans want might not be available.
If I were Texans g.m. Nick Caserio, I would have been talking with the Panthers Friday afternoon even before BB and I finished our appetizers.
I was very saddened by a pair of passings of NFL luminaries on Friday. Otis Taylor. His electrifying catch and run that sealed the Chiefs’ upset of the Vikings in SB IV remains one of the half-dozen or so most significant and memorable plays in Super Bowl history.
And also on Friday came news that longtime Steelers and Jets executive Dick Haley had died at 85. Haley was universally loved and respected throughout the NFL.