Panthers Jan 2, 2022; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; Carolina Panthers helmets on the sidelines in the second quarter of their game against the Carolina Panthers at the Caesars Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

For everyone who has already penciled in Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud as the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft, hold everything. Former Carolina Panthers star Thomas Davis, now an analyst on NFL Network’s NFL Total Access, said on Tuesday’s show that he thinks the team will surprise everyone. How will they do that? By picking Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson No. 1 overall.

“I think (Alabama quarterback Bryce Young) would fit well in Carolina if they were going to draft him,” Davis said. “But I don’t think he’s going to be their pick. I think it’s going to be a very, very surprising pick in Carolina.

“I just know there are a couple of guys upstairs who are enamored by the physical ability of Anthony Richardson.”

Davis played linebacker for the Panthers from 2005 through 2018 and remains beloved within the organization, so he’s got some serious contacts.

The Panthers recently traded with the Chicago Bears to land the No. 1 overall pick, moving up from No. 9. Everyone assumes they will take a quarterback, with Stroud being seen as the heavy favorite. Though the team is supposedly strongly considering Young.

Richardson is still viewed as a longshot to go No. 1 overall, although he had an incredible performance at the recent scouting combine, which included a sizzling 4.44-second 40-yard dash.

Davis, however, went on to say he’s not a big fan of Richardson. When his cohosts mentioned the last time the Panthers had the No. 1 overall pick (2011), they chose quarterback Cam Newton, Davis said, “He’s not Cam Newton.”

“We watched this kid play a lot, me being an SEC guy,” Davis said. “He has all the physical characteristics of being a really good quarterback in the NFL, but I don’t think he’s going to be that really great player the Carolina Panthers need to take them to the next level.”

[NFL Total Access]

About Arthur Weinstein

Arthur spends his free time traveling around the U.S. to sporting events, state and national parks, and in search of great restaurants off the beaten path.