Mar 1, 2023; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Carolina Panthers general manager Scott Fitterer during the NFL Scouting Combine at the Indiana Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Panthers, GM Scott Fitterer have ‘conviction’ on top prospects

The Carolina Panthers are sold on the players expected to be selected at the top of the 2023 NFL Draft, general manager Scott Fitterer told reporters Monday. Still, he gave no indiction as to whom the team will select next month with the No. 1 overall pick, acquired in a trade with the Chicago Bears.

Fitterer apparently liked what he saw of the players at the recent NFL Scouting Combine — the Panthers presumably will draft a quarterback — enough to give the Bears a pair of first-round picks, two-second rounders and wide receiver D.J. Moore to move up from the No. 9 slot.

“At the combine, I said, ‘If you’re gonna go up, you better have conviction.’ And we have conviction on players at that top, that we feel good about,” Fitterer said.

He said no decision has been made as to whether the Panthers will take former Alabama QB Bryce Young, ex-Ohio State QB C.J. Shroud or someone else.

“Yeah, we’re still going through the process right now,” he said. “Obviously, we have our ideas. You’re not gonna make a move like that without having that pretty much cemented. But now, we’re going through the process of talking to the players and really getting to know them.”

The Panthers will be at the pro days for all four of the top QBs in the coming weeks — Stroud, Young, Will Levis and Anthony Richardson.

The Panthers signed 12-year veteran Andy Dalton to serve as a mentor to a young quarterback.

“Obviously, I’ve played a ton of ball; there’s a lot that can come from that,” Dalton told the team’s website. “I started as a rookie; a lot will come from that. There’s a lot I’ve done in my career, a ton of experience I can bring to help that room.”

Dalton, 35, was 6-8 as a starter last season for the New Orleans Saints.

–Field Level Media

Mar 1, 2023; Indianapolis, IN, USA; An empty podium for Georgia Bulldogs defensive lineman Jalen Carter (not pictured) during the NFL Scouting Combine at the Indiana Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Still the 1? QBs rise, DT Jalen Carter falls in top pick odds

Bryce Young exits the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine with a firm grip as the favorite to be the No. 1 overall pick, oddsmakers say.

FanDuel, BetMGM, Caesars Sportsbook and DraftKings all upped Young’s chances of being the top pick in the 2023 NFL Draft over the past week, despite Young’s decision to postpone his passing session and on-field testing until the Alabama Pro Day on March 23.

Young is -190 at FanDuel with former Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud +350 and ex-Florida QB Anthony Richardson making another big climb to +600.

Richardson, with his 6-foot-4, 244-pound frame, led all quarterbacks at the combine in the 40-yard dash, broad jump and vertical jump.

Will Anderson, who worked out as a defensive end, is the top defensive player at FanDuel at +1200.

No player dropped further in No. 1 pick futures odds this past week than ex-Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter. The pre-combine buzz around Carter pushed him to +550 to be drafted No. 1. After he left Indianapolis to turn himself in for a reckless driving and drag racing warrant connected to the deaths of two people in Athens, Ga., Carter dipped to +4000 at FanDuel.

He’s +5000 at DraftKings, and both books list Carter on the board behind former Texas Tech edge rusher Tyree Wilson (+3500).

BetRivers took a $1,000 bet on former Kentucky quarterback Will Levis to be the No. 1 overall pick at +2500 odds (potential payout of $25,000) with another $1,000 wager on Wilson being the first defensive player drafted at +550.

Defensive players are also taking a hit in No. 1 pick futures after Bears general manager Ryan Poles all but admitted there’s not much of a chance Chicago will pick No. 1 overall. As the Bears fish for the best trade offer, the most likely scenario involves a team that needs a quarterback swapping picks with the Bears.

Richardson opened at +10000 at BetMGM and was +500 as of Tuesday morning.

Richardson has 22.7 percent of the handle at BetMGM, where Young is the leader in total handle at 28.8 percent.

At PointsBet, Richardson is just +350 — dead even with Stroud — and Young is the favorite at -165.

–Field Level Media

Jan 10, 2022; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Bryce Young (9) against the Georgia Bulldogs in the 2022 CFP college football national championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Top QB prospects Bryce Young, C.J. Stroud measure up at combine

Bryce Young was the first quarterback to the lectern on Friday at the NFL Scouting Combine, an appropriate anecdote that included hundreds of reporters gathered to hear from the prized Alabama passer and purported No. 1 overall pick in April.

While Young and Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud are expected to entice another team to trade for the top pick and move the Chicago Bears down a peg, Young said he isn’t trying to read the tea leaves.

“I don’t know what’s going to happen,” Young said of being drafted. “I obviously don’t get to choose. I’d be surprised either way. I’m just happy to be here.”

Young has been popular with teams at the top of the draft, meeting with the Bears, Houston Texans (who pick second and have the No. 12 pick), Indianapolis Colts (fourth) and Seattle Seahawks (fifth) and Las Vegas Raiders (seventh).

“Bryce is an outstanding leader, and an outstanding quarterback,” Texans head coach DeMeco Ryans said. “It’s no surprise the success that he’s had, just because of the makeup and the type of guy that he is.”

Young said he had a “great” meeting with the Texans, which might not be a surprise given Ryans also attended Alabama. Crimson Tide products John Metchie III and Christian Harris, former Young teammates, are also in Houston.

“It was a great environment, just being in that room, I got a lot of wisdom. I’m super-grateful for it,” Young said.

Stroud said his first meeting in Indianapolis was with the Raiders. He also met with the Texans and Colts and looks to get a leg up on Young by throwing and performing in on-field events during the combine. Young is holding out for Alabama’s pro day March 23.

“I want to be myself no matter what room I step in, let them know I control the room no matter what room I step in, that I’m a leader,” Stroud said Friday. “And show them the IQ I have, that I’m a student of the game. … I’m willing to go back to square one and learn it all over again.”

Former NFL personnel evaluators appear to be split on whether Young or Stroud is the right quarterback to build around. Louis Riddick said in an ESPN appearance that “sky is the absolute freaking limit” if Stroud gets in the right offense.

“This kid right here, look I love Bryce Young too, it’s like a video game watching the young man play. This guy right here, I think is the gem,” said Riddick, who previously worked in the Eagles’ scouting department.

Height and weight are questions for Young, who is nothing close to the physical prototype at the position. But his instincts, awareness and ability to execute at a high level when plays break down give him one of the highest “off script” grades from general managers since Kyler Murray was selected No. 1 overall.

“I’ve been this size, respectfully, my whole life,” Young said Friday. “I know who I am. I know what I can do. For me, it’s fair, everyone can speculate and ask whatever questions are necessary. I’m going to continue to control what I’m going to control.”

Stroud will be measured with the other quarterbacks in the class on Saturday, when throwing sessions and other on-field workouts take place at Lucas Oil Stadium. Like Stroud, Kentucky’s Will Levis and Florida’s Anthony Richardson plan to participate in all QB events.

The average height and weight of quarterbacks on NFL rosters in 2022 was 6-2 1/2, 219.8. Of course, there are notable exceptions.

Based on the tape at the combine, Murray was 5-10 1/8, Russell Wilson measured 5-10 5/8, Drew Brees was 6-0.

“You do want to pay attention to body type,” former Patriots GM Scott Pioli said on NFL Network. “But go back and watch the tape. Spend time with Bryce Young. I’ve spent time with Bryce Young, I’ve spent time with his parents. This guy is the real deal as a quarterback and human being. This is the guy you want leading your offense and leading your huddle.”

–Field Level Media

Jan 02, 2023; Tuscaloosa, AL, USA;  Bryce Young announces his intention to enter the NFL draft during a press conference for University of Alabama juniors to announce their intentions.

Ncaa Football Ua Juniors Announce For Nfl

Bryce Young nixes combine workout; other top QBs will throw

Projected No. 1 pick Bryce Young will not throw at this week’s NFL scouting combine but the other top three QBs – C.J. Stroud, Anthony Richardson and Will Levis – will work out, ESPN and NFL Network reported Monday.

The combine begins Tuesday in Indianapolis and runs through next Monday. The throwing sessions for QBs are scheduled for Saturday.

Young, who will work out for scouts at his pro day on March 23 in Tuscaloosa, Ala., will go to Indianapolis for interviews, medicals and measurements, per the reports.

All four quarterbacks are projected to be selected in the top 10 of April’s draft.

The Chicago Bears own the No. 1 pick but are expected to trade out, with quarterback-needy teams looking to move up.

Young and Stroud are expected targets of the Indianapolis Colts, who would like to move up from No. 4 to avoid losing out on an elite passer. The Houston Texans own the No. 2 pick and are also in the QB market, as are other teams with selections in the top 10 — the Las Vegas Raiders and Carolina Panthers among them.

–Field Level Media

Dec 2, 2022; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Southern California Trojans quarterback Caleb Williams (13) carries the ball on a 59-yard run against the Utah Utes in the first half of the Pac-12 Championship at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Southern Cal QB Caleb Williams named Player of Year

Southern California quarterback Caleb Williams was named the Associated Press Player of the Year on Thursday.

He received 32 of 46 first-place votes (117 points) to easily beat out TCU quarterback Max Duggan, who earned six first-place votes and finished with 64 points. Ohio State QB C.J. Stroud, Tennessee QB Hendon Hooker and Georgia QB Stetson Bennett rounded out the top five.

Williams, Duggan, Stroud and Bennett are also the Heisman Trophy finalists.

A sophomore, Williams becomes the first USC player since 2005 to win the award. Reggie Bush earned it in 2005, one year after Trojans QB Matt Leinart took home the award.

Williams led USC to an 11-2 record and a trip to the Cotton Bowl to face Tulane.

He completed 66.1 percent of his passes, throwing for 4,075 yards and an FBS-best 37 touchdowns. He rushed for another 372 yards and 10 TDs, setting the school record for total TDs and total yards from scrimmage.

–Field Level Media

Nov 19, 2022; College Park, Maryland, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback C.J. Stroud (7) throws during the second half against the Maryland Terrapins  at SECU Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Buckeyes QB C.J. Stroud now odds-on Heisman favorite

Hendon Hooker’s fading Heisman Trophy odds took a hit with every touchdown Tennessee fell behind by at South Carolina on Saturday night.

They officially ended when the senior quarterback suffered a season-ending torn ACL in his knee.

Hooker was taken off the Heisman Trophy board at sportsbooks, leaving Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud as the odds-on favorite.

Stroud has one major regular-season hurdle left as Ohio State prepares to play host to Michigan on Saturday. However, even a loss to the Wolverines may not derail Stroud’s path to the Heisman.

He is the -120 favorite at DraftKings and -130 at BetMGM, where Stroud has been backed by 10.6 percent of the total tickets and 19.0 percent of the money. Those figures will likely rise significantly for as longs the sportsbooks continue to take new Heisman bets.

The only other player within shouting distance at DraftKings is Southern California quarterback Caleb Williams at +1200. Now other player has shorter odds than Michigan running back Blake Corum at +1500.

BetMGM is offering Williams at +125, followed by North Carolina quarterback Drake Maye at +700 and Corum at +1100. Williams, who dropped to +1100 following the Trojans’ lone loss to the season, is now back as the second favorite while drawing 6.7 percent of the bets and 5.3 percent of the money.

USC will play host to Notre Dame on Saturday ahead of a Pac-12 championship dates against Washington, Oregon or Utah.

Stetson Bennett, the quarterback for No. 1 Georgia, remains a massive longshot at +8000 both sportsbooks.

–Field Level Media

Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker (5) during Tennessee's game against Kentucky at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tenn., on Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022.

Kns Vols Kentucky Bp

Heisman Hook: Tennessee QB overtakes CJ Stroud as favorite

Hendon Hooker has pushed past Ohio State quarterback CJ Stroud as the betting favorite for the Heisman Trophy.

With Tennessee at 8-0 and No. 2 in the Top 25 poll on the eve of the first release of the College Football Playoff rankings, Hooker can further his stake for the top individual award in college football by taking down No. 1 Georgia on Saturday.

Hooker has 2,338 yards, 21 TD passes and one interception, with an upset of Alabama already on his resume this season.

This is the first week sportsbooks put Hooker, who opened the season at +20000, atop the Heisman futures heap. He is even money to win the Heisman at Caesars Sportsbook. He’s the leader at FanDuel, where his odds on Monday morning were +100 with Stroud +200 and two others well back but tied at +1400 — USC quarterback Caleb Williams and Michigan running back Blake Corum.

When the month of October began, Stroud remained a firm No. 1 at most sportsbooks, +150 at BetMGM, +150 at FanDuel and +130 at Caesars.

Tennessee opened as 9-point underdogs to Georgia.

–Field Level Media

Michigan running back Blake Corum runs for a touchdown against Maryland during the second half at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022.

Michigan RB Blake Corum enters Heisman picture

Bryce Young’s dinged shoulder has put a dent in his odds while Michigan running back Blake Corum has run himself out of national obscurity and straight into Heisman contention.

Corum, all 5-feet-8 of him, rushed for another 133 yards last week in Michigan’s win over Iowa to give him 611 on the season, good for fourth nationally. In doing so, he vaults to sixth in the betting fray to win the 2022 Heisman Trophy — +2000 at Caesars, +1800 at BetMGM and +1800 at FanDuel.

Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud remains a firm No. 1 this week, +150 at BetMGM, +150 at FanDuel and +130 at Caesars. He is third in all of FBS with 18 touchdown passes.

Stroud overtook Young last week at No. 1 and Southern California QB Caleb Williams overtakes the Alabama quarterback at No. 2 this week.

Young is day-to-day with a right shoulder sprain, with Texas A&M up next this weekend for the top-ranked Crimson Tide. He threw for just 173 yards and a touchdown against an interception last week vs. Arkansas before leaving the game.

The Heisman odds reflect that. Young’s odds have lengthened at BetMGM to +900 (from +400) and +1000 (from +500) at FanDuel. Young sits at +800 at Caesars.

Williams now sits No. 2 at all three books — +400 (from +600) at BetMGM, +550 at Caesars and +500 at FanDuel.

Also making a statement this week is Kansas State quarterback Adrian Martinez, surging to fifth across two books. Martinez, tied for second in all of FBS with nine rushing touchdowns, is at +1600 at FanDuel and +1400 at BetMGM.

–Field Level Media

Sep 24, 2022; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback C.J. Stroud (7) throws during the second half of the NCAA Division I football game against the Wisconsin Badgers at Ohio Stadium. Ohio State won 52-21. Mandatory Credit: Adam Cairns-The Columbus Dispatch

Ncaa Football Wisconsin Badgers At Ohio State Buckeyes

C.J. Stroud huge favorite in Heisman, No. 1 pick futures

C.J. Stroud is striking a pose.

Stroud quarterbacked the No. 3 Ohio State Buckeyes to an easy win over Wisconsin in the Big Ten opener on Saturday. In doing so, he ballooned to a +150 favorite from +400 to win the 2022 Heisman Trophy at BetMGM and leapfrogged Alabama’s Bryce Young.

Young dipped from +250 to +400, Southern California quarterback Caleb Williams is +600 (from +800), and the biggest mover of the week is Kansas quarterback Jalon Daniels at +3000.

Daniels opened at +12500 at BetMGM to win the Heisman. With Kansas rolling to the top of the Big 12 standings and 4-0, the Jayhawks’ quarterback has attracted more than 25 percent of all Heisman futures at the sportsbook. That includes one of the biggest Heisman wagers yet for BetMGM in 2022, a $25,000 bet to win $825,000.

At FanDuel, Stroud is +125 to claim the trophy with Young at +500 and Williams +600. Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker is fourth at that book, at +1600, after the Vols beat the Florida Gators on Saturday.

Field Level Media draft analysts rate Stroud as the No. 1 player available in the 2023 NFL Draft due to the combination of accuracy, arm strength and anticipation in the pocket.

Stroud leads all of FBS with 16 touchdown passes and one interception — his first of the season came Saturday vs. the Badgers — and back-to-back games with five TD passes. His QB Rating of 95.4 is second in the nation.

Stroud is +200 at DraftKings to be the No. 1 pick in the ’23 draft with Young, the reigning Heisman winner, at +225 and Alabama linebacker Will Anderson +330.

FanDuel has Stroud and Young even at +200, Anderson +300 and Florida’s Anthony Richardson +1400.

–Field Level Media

Sep 10, 2022; Austin, Texas, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Bryce Young (9) throws a pass against the Texas Longhorns during the first half at at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports

Bryce Young keeps C.J. Stroud within sight in Heisman race

Bryce Young rallied Alabama to a narrow victory in Texas on Saturday, which likely kept his hopes to repeat as the Heisman Trophy winner alive.

Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud remains the +275 favorite at BetMGM, where he was being offered at +200 entering the season. Stroud has done nothing to hurt his chances with the Buckeyes sitting at 2-0, and he leads the way at the sportsbook with 9.5 percent of the total Heisman Trophy bets and 13.7 percent of the handle.

The next shortest odds belong to Southern Cal quarterback Caleb Williams (+300), who engineered a dominant victory over Stanford on Saturday. Young, who was +350 shortly before the season began, is now being offered at +400 and has drawn 8.0 and 10.8 percent of the action, respectively.

No other player has shorter odds than Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett at +1400.

However, it’s not the top trio that has the sportsbook the most exposed.

Kansas State running back Deuce Vaughn is BetMGM’s biggest current Heisman Trophy liability as he has been backed by 6.4 percent of the bets and 105. percent of the handle. Vaughn’s longshot odds have shortened to +6600 after opening at +8000 as he has racked up 271 yards and three touchdowns on the ground through two games.

The second biggest liability is Alabama defensive end Will Anderson Jr. He is now being offered at +2500 and has been backed by 8.2 and 6.6 percent of the action, respectively. Bennett is the third biggest liability with 5.9 and 6.1 percent.

Young is attempting to join Ohio State running back Archie Griffin as the only players to win consecutive Heismans. He has also slipped to third at DraftKings, where Young is being offered at +340 behind Stroud (+260) and Williams (+320).

However, that does represent a small bump for Young, who was +400 before the start of the season.

–Field Level Media