Carolina Panthers Seven-Round Mock Draft

Carolina Panthers Mock Draft

While the Philadelphia Eagles, San Francisco 49ers, Kansas City Chiefs and Cincinnati Bengals all prepare for their playoff games, the rest of the NFL is preparing for the draft. The Carolina Panthers made a huge splash trading Christian McCaffrey in 2022, and now have a treasure chest of picks in 2023. The team’s major needs include quarterback, linebacker, cornerback, and wide receiver. This mock draft provides brighter days ahead for the Carolina Panthers.

Note that this exercise was performed using the Pro Football Focus Mock Draft Simulator. While it may be advisable for Carolina to trade up or down, I left trades out of this exercise.

Carolina Panthers Seven-Round Mock Draft

Pick 1.09 Anthony Richardson, QB

Panthers fans, rejoice. There’s a good chance we look back in ten years and Anthony Richardson is the top quarterback in this class. Seeing a quarterback this big, this fast, and this talented in Panther blue will draw comparisons to Cam Newton quickly. A rocket for an arm, elite athleticism and not breaking the bank when he can be drafted at the nine slot. Some analysts will view this as a reach, I see it as the steal of the draft. Richardson profiles as the kind of quarterback that either saves a franchise, or gets a GM fired.

The ideal situation for this pick is that Carolina re-signs Sam Darnold, or someone else on the market for cheap. This would allow Richardson to sit and learn the offense, and not be forced into early playing time and high expectations. Regardless of impact year one, Richardson is a great choice in the first round. Of course, this situation likely goes out the window if the team trades for Trey Lance.

Anthony Richardson NFL Draft Profile

Pick 2.39 Jalin Hyatt, WR

Yes, D.J. Moore just signed an extension. Yes, Terrace Marshall finally started contributing in 2022. One of the Panthers biggest team needs is a weapon that can take the top off of a defense. I introduce to you, Jalin Hyatt. Hyatt has the speed to ruin game plans and opened up the offense in Tennessee. Defenses will have to account for a top 20 Wide Receiver in D.J. Moore on the outside while also providing safety help to the poor soul matched up on Hyatt.

Hyatt burst onto the scene with five touchdowns against Alabama despite being lined up across from three of the top 50 prospects in the country. If the SEC and college just mean more, then Hyatt’s performance in October was all the film scouts need to watch. Fantasy and Panthers fans should be thrilled with this pairing of Richardson and Hyatt.

Pick 2.60 Garrett Williams, CB

Teams can never have enough corners. Williams possesses the requisite size to stay with NFL-caliber receivers and should test adequately in the combine. Will not blow anyone out of the water with superior straight-line speed but closes on the ball well and plays in position. With that positioning, Williams possesses exceptional skill with the ball in the air. Williams is a late first-round prospect in most drafts, but this class has such exceptional top-end talent that Carolina benefits. A clear upgrade over any player on the roster not named Jaycee Horn.

Pick 3.92 Dawand Jones, OT

The other tackle out of Ohio State. While his running mate, Paris Johnson Jr. is projected to go top 15, Jones finds a new home in Carolina. Jones allowed zero sacks or QB hits in his senior season. If Ohio State is measuring him truthfully, this is a humongous human being. Jones is a healthy 6’8″ 359 pounds and an absolute grinder in the run game. This selection allows Carolina to do what they do best and establish the run. Plus, it would be fun to watch Jones and Ikem Ekwonu manhandle defenses.

Pick 4.111 Owen Pappoe, LB

This selection may be more of a pipe dream than a reality. Pappoe was a five-star recruit, and reportedly ran a 4.47 40-yard dash and jumped 40 inches in the vertical. Did I mention that was in 2018 as a High Schooler? Pappoe walked out of Algebra two, then posted an elite athleticism grade for grown men. He is allegedly even faster now, making the Athletic’s Freak List running a casual 4.32 40-yard dash and bench pressing a mediocre 435 pounds. This is the kind of prospect with talents you cannot teach and will skyrocket during the pre-draft process.

Pick 4.128 Dewayne McBride, RB

Speaking of freaks, McBride is 215 pounds and squats 550 pounds, hang cleans 345 and benches 385. McBride will fall in the draft due to playing at a less than competitive school in UAB but possesses tremendous upside. He averaged almost seven yards a carry, which is impressive after you take into account almost five of those were after contact. Elite contact balance, impressive physical traits and runs like the defense stole his younger brother’s lunch money. McBride could be this year’s Dameon Pierce and should easily usurp Chuba Hubbard and D’Onta Foreman. For those saying running backs don’t matter, this guy is the reason teams should fade running back early. Why take one in the second round when you can take an athlete of this caliber in the fourth?

Pick 5.142 Henry To’oTo’o, LB

If there is an Alabama linebacker available in the fifth round, you draft them. To’oTo’o was the leader of the Alabama defense and looks the part of the modern middle linebacker. A bit undersized at only 228 pounds, To’oTo’o makes up for it with closing speed and ferocity at the point of attack. With Brian Burns in front of him soaking up blocks, To’oTo’o would be free to roam the field and cause chaos for other teams. It is not often a player of this caliber slips to the fifth, and if that’s the case Carolina should run to the podium.

Pick 6.185 Chamarri Conner, S

The Senior Bowl will be big for Conner’s draft capital. The safety out of Virginia Tech was a sure tackler in college but struggled in pass coverage. Could find a role on special teams due to tackling ability and motor but will likely top out as a rotation defensive back at best.

Pick 7.225 Zach Kuntz, TE

Wrapping up the Carolina Panthers mock draft is Zach Kuntz. One of the top tight ends in his recruiting class, Kuntz committed to Penn State. Then he was stuck behind some player named Pat Freiermuth, Brenton Strange, so he transferred to Old Dominion. At 6’8″ 250 pounds he profiled as a sixth offensive lineman, but the tape tells a different story. Kuntz was the best receiving weapon at ODU in 2021 and was on pace to do the same thing in 2022 before suffering a leg injury. In the seventh round, the Panthers swing for the fences and add another weapon to their young QB’s arsenal.

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