Sports. Honestly. Since 2011

Panthers Draft Class Receives Abysmal Grade In Leaguewide Rankings

Panthers Draft Class

The Carolina Panthers finished with the worst record in football, and that couldn’t have happened if their most recent draft class didn’t disappoint. While a lot of factors led to Carolina’s nightmare season, the fact of the matter is that, for one reason or another, the first-year players on the team were not able to make a positive impact on the football field.

Before officially turning the page on the 2023 season, Eric Edholm and Chad Reuter took a look back on how every draft class performed, and the Panthers are near the bottom of the league in these rankings. According to the article, Carolina’s rookie class was the 28th-best in the league, narrowly beating out only the San Francisco 49ers, Dallas Cowboys, Washington Commanders, and Denver Broncos.

Carolina Panthers Draft Class Receives Terrible Grade After One Year

The Article

Edholm’s biggest reason for the low ranking of the Panthers draft class is first-overall pick Bryce Young. Statistically speaking, the rookie had an atrocious season, ranking at or near the bottom of every major passing statistic. The NFL analyst admits that Carolina put Young in a position to fail and wonders if “turmoil on the coaching staff stunted Young’s growth.” Regardless of why he failed as a rookie, the fact remains that the team drafted him to be a franchise savior, and so far, that hasn’t happened.

Of course, Bryce Young was not the only disappointment from the Panthers draft class. While he had a few highlight-worthy plays, second-round pick Jonathan Mingo had far more bad moments on tape than good. Edholm specifically points out the rookie’s numerous drops and mental errors as reasons for this low ranking.

The biggest silver lining in the Panthers draft class, Edholm claims, is outside linebacker D.J. Johnson. While an elbow injury derailed his rookie campaign, he played well in midseason. Seeing as he entered the league as a raw prospect, he could turn into something.

Is This Panthers Draft Class Analysis Fair?

While Panthers fans might not want to hear it, it’s hard to argue against this draft class ranking. No matter how you measure it, Carolina had a terrible season and there isn’t much hope for the future.

There is still time for Bryce Young to turn it around. While his rookie season was statistically awful, no young quarterback could have survived in this environment. Between terrible receivers, uninspired coaching, and a front office that couldn’t get out of its own way, Young was set up to fail. First-year head coach Dave Canales worked miracles with Geno Smith and Baker Mayfield, so hopefully he can do the same with Young.

The rest of the Panthers draft class does not have an excuse for their shortcomings. The Panthers had the worst wide receiver depth chart in the league last year, and Jonathan Mingo still couldn’t find a way to earn targets. Despite his athletic gifts, the rookie ranked 108th in separation score, 110th in PFF grade, and 93rd in yards per route run. You can never completely give up on a top-40 pick after one season, but he has a lot of work to do to become an NFL-caliber player.

Fourth-round pick Chandler Zavala, meanwhile, was a big reason the offensive line was such a disaster. The rookie’s 26.2 PFF grade ranked dead last among 79 eligible guards, and it wasn’t particularly close to the next-worst at the position (Antonio Mafi, 32.3). It’s hard to think of anyone who came back from such a terrible season – if he sees meaningful snaps next year, something has gone horribly wrong.

Main Photo: Bob Donnan – USA Today Sports


More Posts

Send Us A Message