It’s time to talk draft Carolina Panthers fans . . . draft picks, rounds, team needs, and prospects to watch.
by Nat L. Faybian • Senior Writer • @natlfaybian • nlfmockdraft.com • March 6, 2019 • Updated: April 8, 2019
Jerry Tepper’s first year as owner didn’t go quite the way he had hoped. His biggest investment, quarterback Cam Newton, got continually roughed up until he was finally knocked out for the season with a shoulder injury. Tepper’s next biggest investment, Luke Kuechly, has been in-and-out of concussion protocol for the last three seasons. That’s got to be a concern. And fourth highest on the payroll, $55 million dollar LT Matt Kalil suffered from poor play and a litany of injuries, he was allowed to leave for Houston. So, the Panthers’ priorities look to be getting Cam well; finding a left tackle; and finding some fresh star-power on defense.
2019 draft picks
*Indicates Compensatory Pick.
- Offensive Tackle
- Defensive End
- Defensive Tackle
- Wide Receiver
- Running Back
Newton is coming off a shoulder injury entering his ninth season. In his career, he’s rushed the ball 1,002 time. That’s a lot of extra punishment for a quarterback, even a big one like Newton, to take, and eventually it will take it’s toll. He’s also been sacked 285 times in his career, going down about 30 times a season. Finding a replacement for LT Matt Kalil will seem to be paramount, either through free agency or the draft. OC Ryan Kalil announced that he would retire after the 2018 season, so finding a replacement for him will also be high on the Panthers’ list. Look for them to bring in a bigger running back as a compliment to Christian McCaffrey.
Julius Peppers brilliant career appears to be over, so bringing in someone to come off the edge should be something Carolina should look for, either via FA or the draft. Safety is an area in need of an upgrade, they’ll probably bring in a few new faces there. They will also need to add a starting linebacker to play along Kuechly and Thompson.
Prospects to watch
Greg Little, OT, Mississippi
With some very good edge rushers still on the board, Carolina will have to decide what their priority is: protecting Newton or replacing Peppers? Since the draft is very deep in defensive linemen, it would seem to make more sense to grab a starting caliber tackle while you can. In Little, Carolina would get a reliable, athletic, player with three years of starting experience at left tackle in the every competitive SEC.
Garrett Bradbury, OC, No Carolina State
Bradbury was named a Consensus All-American,the FBS Rimington Award winner, and team captain in 2018. He started 13 games at left guard in 2016. He has started every game at center over the last two years. He’s technically sound, but will need to add some strength during the off-season conditioning program.
Benny Snell, RB, Kentucky
It only took three years for Benny Snell to become UK’s all-time leading rusher with 3,873 yards. For his career, he has averaged 5.3 ypc. He’d make a nice compliment to McCaffrey. He’s a bigger back; he’s durable; and he can consistently pound the ball between the tackles. He’ll move the chains.
Derick Roberson, DE/LB, Sam Houston State
Roberson was a finalist for the Buck Buchanan Award in 2018. He tied Sam Houston’s single-season record with 15 sacks and had 20.5 tackles for loss, and five forced fumbles. He has a quick first step when going after the quarterback; on running plays, Roberson hustles to the ball, sideline-to-sideline; and he’s athletic enough to drop into coverage. Roberson is a good prospect with a lot of upside.
Players to Watch: WR Nick Easley, Iowa; DT Dre’Mont Jones, Ohio State; OC Eric McCoy, Texas A&M; WR Anthony Ratliff-Williams, No. Carolina; DT Khalen Saunders, Western Illinois; and QB Clayton Thorson, Northwestern.
General Manager: Marty Hurney | Head Coach: Ron Rivera | Offensive Coordinator: Norv Turner | Defensive Coordinator: Eric Washington
Recent Top Draft selections:
2018: R1 D.J. Moore WR | R2 Donte Jackson DB
2017: R1 Christian McCaffrey RB | R2 Curtis Samuel WR
2016: R1 Vernon Butler DT | R2 James Bradberry CB
2015: R1 Shaq Thompson LB | R2 Devin Funchess WR
AZ | SF | NYJ | OAK | TB | NYG | JAX | DET | BUF | DEN | CIN | GB | MIA | ATL | WASH | CAR | CLE | MIN | TEN | PIT | SEA | BALT | HOU | CHI | PHI | IND | DAL | LAC | KC | NO | LAR | NE
The 2019 NFL Draft will take place Thursday, April 25 – Saturday, April 27 in Nashville, Tennessee.