The Carolina Panthers are coming off a second-place finish in the NFC South. While Carolina had a 7-10 record, they had a shot at the division title if they had beaten the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 17 and the New Orleans Saints in Week 18. The Panthers are entering a new era as they brought in Frank Reich as the team’s next head coach.
Reich isn’t the only new piece for Carolina. They signed free agent RB Miles Sanders to a four-year deal to replace Christian McCaffrey, who was dealt to the San Francisco 49ers at last year’s trade deadline. The Panthers made a splash trade sending draft picks and DJ Moore to the Chicago Bears for the No. 1 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. The front office for Carolina suggested they just wanted to hold all the cards and may end up moving back again. Quarterback and wide receiver remain the team’s top needs heading into next season, along with EDGE and cornerback on the defensive side of the ball.
Significant free agency additions
- QB Andy Dalton
- RB Miles Sanders
- TE Hayden Hurst
- C Bradley Bozeman
- DL Shy Tuttle
- S Vonn Bell
Significant free agency losses
- RB D’Onta Foreman
- QB Sam Darnold
- QB PJ Walker
- C Pat Eflein
- OT Cam Erving
- LB Cory Littleton
Carolina Panthers 7-round mock draft
With the Panthers on the clock, for now, let’s look at a 7-round mock draft on PFN where trade offers are on the table.
1. QB CJ Stroud, Ohio State
40. WR Zay Flowers, Boston College (traded 39, 145 to Saints for 40, 115)
93. CB Jaylon Jones, Texas A&M
114. EDGE DJ Johnson, Oregon
115. LB DeMarvion Overshown, Texas
132. WR Jonathan Mingo, Ole Miss
Despite PFN having trade offers on, I was surprised to see that I didn’t get any offers for No. 1. Regardless, I feel like the top quarterback in this class is CJ Stroud. Anthony Richardson had a strong Combine but didn’t eclipse Stroud, and Bryce Young took a step back from a poor Combine showing.
In the trade with the Bears to move up, the Panthers included a 2023 second-round pick. It ended up being the draft pick the 49ers sent for McCaffrey, so Carolina retained its own second. The Saints moved up a spot to grab EDGE Derick Hall, and I took the deal because I felt I could still get Flowers and move up in the later round.
I had some offers for 93 but kept the selection and went with Jaylon Jones to improve Carolina’s corner depth. He won’t have to be the top corner of the team and could cover the slot while also developing for the future. I stayed with the defensive side of the ball and went with EDGE DJ Johnson out of Oregon at 114 and LB DeMarvion Overshown from Texas at 115, which I received from the Saints deal.
The Panthers' final pick in the simulator without sending out any trade offers is No. 132. I took another wide receiver to ensure the team improved at that position. Carolina will likely sign a free agent wide receiver so they could address offensive line or defensive line depth with their remaining pick, although in real life, they are likely to acquire more trades in the back of the draft.