31 October 2020

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Draft Preview: Carolina Panthers

The Carolina Panthers  2019 season started off with their star quarterback Cam Newton getting re-injured by week 3. The Panthers would later find out that Newton had a Lisfranc fracture that would keep him out for the rest of the season. With the panthers sitting at a record of 0-2, rookie quarterback Kyle Allen was the next man up and showed out as he led them to Carolina to a 4-2 record.

Despite a monstrous year by running back Christian McCaffrey and outstanding start by rookie Kyle Allen, the Panthers would finish off with a record of 5-11. Here are some positions the Panthers could look to address with their 7 total draft picks.

Offensive Tackle 

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The Panthers offensive line tied with the Dolphins this past season for the most sacks given up with 58, and also allowed 102 quarterback hits. Carolina starting guard Daryl Williams is set to become an unrestricted free agent along with starting left guard Greg Van Roten. Roten started 12 games but dislocated his toe week 12 causing him to miss the rest of the season. Williams played all 16 games starting 12 games in different positions three games at right guard, four at left tackle, and five at left guard. Despite Williams being a hybrid being able to play multiple positions he gave up the most sacks on the team with 1. With Williams being inconsistent the Panthers may hesitate to bring him back for another year.

A prospect to look out for is 6’5, 320-pound offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs who is considered the most athletic lineman in this year’s draft. Wirfs showcased his freakish athleticism during the NFL Combine as he broke multiple records at the lineman positions. Wirfs is a true hybrid; he has the ability to play left tackle and right tackle which is something the Panthers offensive line could really use.

Linebacker

The Panthers just lost longtime linebacker Luke Kuechly who was a huge piece in their defense for many years. With Kuechly’s out of nowhere retirement, the Panthers lost a player, they lost a great mentor, and a true team leader on defense.

Carolina won’t be able to fill the huge hole lost with Kuechly being a mentor and leader but they can fill the spot of his playing with a player who showed good talent linebacker Jordyn Brooks out of Texas Tech. Brooks recorded 3 sacks along with one forced fumble and 108 tackles after only recording 84, 89, and 85 tackles his previous years. Brooks best attribute is his tackling as he is considered to be the best solo and most consistent tackler in this year’s draft class.

Cornerback

The Panthers’ top cornerback James Bradberry is set to become an unrestricted free agent and is looking to close on a big-time contract after his impressive 2019 campaign. Carolina is projected to only have $19 million in cap space and it is very likely Bradberry is going to get his big contract elsewhere. Along with Bradberry cornerback, Javien Elliott is set to become a free agent and Ross Cockrell who both may be on the move much like Bradberry.

A prospect to look out for is cornerback A.J Terell who is coming off a solid year for Clemson. Terell recorded 2 interceptions and 1 pass deflection; he is much better than what his numbers show. Terell matched up against top receivers during his time at Clemson and proved he could hold his own against top competition. His best attribute is the ability to stick to his receivers when in press coverage with the help of his good low and steady backpedal.

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