CAROLINA PANTHERS NFL DRAFT PLAN OF ATTACK
OT, DT, CB, OLB, DE, TE, WR
FREE AGENT ACQUISITIONS:
QB Teddy Bridgewater, QB PJ Walker, WR Robby Anderson, OT Russell Okung (trade), S Tre Boston (re-signed), WR Pharoh Cooper, TE Seth DeValve, G John Miller, WR Seth Roberts, DE Stephen Weatherly, LB Tahir Whitehead
FREE AGENT LOSSES:
G Trai Turner (trade), QB Cam Newton, WR Chris Hogan, TE Greg Olsen, G Greg Van Roten, OT Daryl Williams, DT Dontari Poe, LB Luke Kuechly (retired), DE Mario Addison, DT Vernon Butler, DE Bruce Irvin, DT Kyle Love, CB James Bradberry, CB Ross Cockrell, S Colin Jones, S Eric Reid
ROUND 1 TARGETS:
OT Mekhi Becton, OT Jedrick Wills, OT Tristian Wirfs, S/LB Isaiah Simmons, CB Jeffrey Okudah, DT Derrick Brown,
ROUND 2 TARGETS:
OT Josh Jones, OT Ezra Cleveland, OT Isaiah Wilson, WR Jalen Reagor, WR Brandon Aiyuk, WR Laviska Shenault Jr., WR K.J. Hamler, DT Neville Gallimore, TE Cole Kmet, CB Noah Igobinghene, CB Jaylon Johnson, CB Cameron Dantzler, CB AJ Terrell, DT Justin Madubuike, DT Jordan Elliott, DE Terrell Lewis, DE Curts Weaver
ROUND 3 TARGETS:
OT Prince Tega-Wanogho OT Ben Bartch, OT Saahdiq Charles, DT Leki Fotu, WR Van Jefferson, WR KJ Hill, WR Michael Pittman Jr., WR Chase, CB Bryce Hall, CB Tony Pride Jr., CB Darnay Holmes, CB Amik Robertson, TE Brycen Hopkins, TE Adam Trautman, TE Hunter Bryant, TE Thaddeus Moss
PLAN OF ATTACK:
In Round 1 the Panthers basically have two options. They can take a big defensive tackle in Derrick Brown or grab a left tackle of the future with a guy like Jedrick Wills, Tristan Wirfs, or Mekhi Becton. The only thing that could throw a monkey wrench in this plan would be if Jeff Okudah were to fall to them. If he did, the team should waste little time snapping him up. Since the Panthers traded for Russell Okung and have Greg Little waiting in the wings, they are probably going to go with the defensive tackle. Brown is a beast as he can eat up space, as well as providing some pressure up the middle. He’ll be a great addition to the middle of their defensive line. Another wild card that should probably be mentioned would be Isaiah Simmons. This athletic super freak could play safety or linebacker for the Panthers and would be an instant force on defense.
In Round 2, the Panthers are likely to once again address the defensive side of the football. They have a need at cornerback after losing James Bradberry in free agency. Corn Elder is currently slated to be a starter and that really can’t happen. The Panthers should see some good options available at the top of the second round. Names like Utah’s Jaylon Johnson, Clemson’s AJ Terrell, and Auburn’s Noah Igbinoghene could be on the board. Any of those would honestly be solid choices, but the guy that could bring a little more to the table is Igbinoghene. He is a lights out return man, as well as an accomplished cover man who plays with great physicality. The Panthers could also surprise here and go with a tight end. They lost Greg Olsen in free agency and while they do have Ian Thomas on the roster, he has yet to break out. Cole Kmet is widely considered to be the best tight end in the Draft this year. He’s got the size and pass-catching ability to be a dependable target for Teddy Bridgewater in the passing game. He also is an above-average blocker which should get him on the field early as a rookie.
In Round 3 the Panthers could get an offensive tackle. Greg Little didn’t play up to snuff last year and the team had to go out and bring in the ageless Russell Okung. Little could still pan out, but the Panthers would be wise to give him some competition. If Prince Tega-Wanogho was still on the board he’d be a great pick. He’s got very good athletic ability and is plenty strong. He could fall a bit due to a recent scoping of his knee, but he is still raw and has a very high ceiling. If the Panthers haven’t grabbed a cornerback yet they could see some tantalizing options. Ohio State’s Damon Arnette, Virginia’s Bryce Hall, and Notre Dame’s Tony Pride Jr. could be considered. Damon Arnette is a very experienced corner. He played for the Buckeyes for three seasons and has faced some of the best competition the Big Ten has produced. Arnette isn’t a top-flight athlete but is a smart player who understands the game and puts himself in good position. He would definitely push Corn Elder for a starting job and would probably be looked at as the favorite to win that competition. The Panthers could also look at a tight end in round 3. There are plenty of options with Adam Trautman, Thaddeus Moss, and Hunter Bryant being possibilities.
Round 1: DT Derrick Brown, Auburn
Round 2: TE Cole Kmet, Notre Dame
Round 3: CB Damon Arnette, Ohio State