The identity of the first player selected is not yet certain. We are far from the years when Baker Mayfield, Joe Burrow or Trevor Lawrence were obvious. For the past few months, two players have tied the lead in the mock draft: Bryce Young of the Alabama Crimson Tide and C.J. Stroud of the Ohio State Buckeyes. However, for the past week, all indications have been that Young will be the Carolina Panthers’ No. 1 pick. Both quarterbacks have franchise potential and are similar in many ways. They have a powerful and precise arm, are explosive and can get out of trouble with their legs. However, Young seems to have the edge when it comes to game intelligence, reads and reflexes. According to the tests carried out during the evaluation camps, these criteria would be Stroud’s Achilles’ heel. Winner of the Heisman Trophy awarded to the NCAA MVP in 2021, Young is more equipped and it would be extremely surprising to see him wait his turn on Thursday night.
If the Carolina Panthers will speak in the first row on Thursday, it is thanks to a trade made with the Chicago Bears on March 10. By virtue of their last place in the general classification last season, the Bears had inherited the first selection. However, they can already count on a very talented quarterback in Justin Fields. They therefore had the big end of the stick to negotiate with the formations looking for a quarter of the future. The Panthers answered the call and offered the Bears the 9th pick, the 61st pick, a 2024 1st round pick, a 2025 2nd round pick and most importantly 26-year-old receiver D.J. Moore. The Bears have therefore secured the services of a very good receiver, a crying need in the formation, and several quality choices, without having fallen back excessively during the first round on Thursday. On the other hand, the Panthers will be able to draft the quarterback of their choice.
The short answer: the best defensive player in this crop. And perhaps even the purest talent of all. It would be surprising to see him among the first two selections, because the first two teams to be chosen badly need a quarterback, but the organization in which he ends up will not be left behind. The Alabama Crimson Tide linebacker made history for this prestigious program. In 41 college games, he has 204 tackles and 34.5 quarterback sacks, including 17.5 in 2021. In the backfield, Anderson is a cheetah. He is explosive, strong, quick and smart. We only see him. Our gaze is unconsciously directed towards this completely unique beast. Kind of like watching Micah Parsons play for the Dallas Cowboys. Anderson could become a huge star in the NFL. His dominance is such that he was banned from taking part in Crimson Tide rehearsals in practice, because the offense was having too much trouble countering him.
Matthew Bergeron is the highest ranked Quebecer. The offensive lineman from the Syracuse Orange should be chosen from the first three rounds. A native of Victoriaville, the 6’5″ and 318-pound youngster was amazing with his versatility and leadership during his time in the American university ranks. Another Quebecer risks hearing his name spoken. Sidy Sow, from Bromont, seems to have done enough at Eastern Michigan University. The 6-foot-5, 323-pound guard is expected to be selected later, around the fifth round, according to observer projections.