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The "Anthony Richardson Will Be The 1st Overall Pick" Speculation Continues To Gain Steam

"I think it's going to be a very, very surprising pick in Carolina. […] I just know that there are a couple of guys upstairs that are enamored by the physical ability of Anthony Richardson. I’ll just say that."

I'm not suggesting you take the words of retired Carolina Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis at face value, or as the gospel as to what will happen atop the 2023 NFL Draft. At the same time, this guy is clearly plugged in to what's going on in Charlotte. By the couple guys upstairs, I assume Davis means the front office. Personnel folks. Execs. Dudes who are significant in the final decision-making process as to which quarterback the Panthers are taking first overall.

Feel like I'm on an "Anthony Richardson is QB1" island, but so be it. I'll go down swinging on the freakiest QB athlete of all-time who'd be going to such an amazing situation in Carolina. As long as he's not a total malcontent who doesn't work hard — all indications are that is not how he is — I struggle to foresee the Panthers failing to capitalize on a prospect with this high of a ceiling.

I covered the pros and cons of Carolina drafting CJ Stroud, Bryce Young and Richardson after they picked up wide receiver Adam Thielen in free agency. Plenty of words there for you to chew on if you care to hear my more detailed thoughts on how the Panthers' offseason might impact their looming, franchise-changing decision.

TLDR: My heart wants Richardson, but my head thinks Young will, in fact, be a Panther when all is said and done. Here's something to bear in mind: As of New Year's Eve, Richardson was a +8000 shot to go first overall in the draft on Barstool Sportsbook. Why do I know this? Well...

When that Thielen blog was posted, Stroud was the favorite at -250, followed by Young and Richardson at +275 apiece. I hedged on Young pretty big at that number. ALREADY, before the pro days for all three of these signal-callers take place inside the next week or so, Young has closed the gap for reasons unclear. I don't know of any reports or leaks that have happened in the past 24ish hours.

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I'm wondering if Davis' public proclamation about what he's heard behind the scenes will have any impact on the lines within the next day or two. As the draft gets closer and smokescreen reports keep dropping by the dozen, those numbers are going to fluctuate like crazy. 

I know better than to get too excited by what one person says about what might happen in the NFL Draft. You never quite know what ulterior motives are at play. That said, we are talking about Thomas Davis, who's about the most straight-up, professional, no-bullshit football person around. This man overcame three torn ACLs in his career and carved out an outstanding 13-year tenure in Carolina. With that backstory, Davis doesn't strike me as the type of person to put some BS out there just for the sake of it.

Yes, I have eyes and can see that Richardson's odds fell to +350. I know some of you who've seen me plug my Richardson bet in multiple blogs want nothing more than to laugh in my fucking face when he isn't the pick on draft night. Nevertheless, in light of what Davis said, I'm very much in Lloyd Christmas mode and would welcome any positive vibes you'd like to send this way…

Giphy Images.

Twitter @MattFitz_gerald/TikTok

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