The Carolina Panthers have a lot to think about over the next month as they prepare for the NFL draft. They released Greg Olsen after the 2019 season ended, Luke Kuechly retired, and they hired a new head coach in Matt Rhule. They also recently reported cutting nine-year veteran quarterback, Cam Newton. There aren’t many high expectations for the team this year considering their overhaul in cleaning house, so expect this draft to be wide open for them. Assuming the Panthers keep all their picks in the order they are in now, let’s take a look at some possibilities of players to fill those spots. Let’s take a look at the Panthers mock draft.
Carolina Panthers Mock Draft 2020
Round 1, Pick 7
Isaiah Simmons, Linebacker, Clemson
The Panthers need to do work on defense, so it appears that the first pick will be on that side of the ball. CBS Sports thinks they will trade down to the 12th pick and take LSU’s sophomore edge rusher K’Lavon Chaisson. That wouldn’t be a bad pickup, but they could wait until later in the draft to pick up a quality edge rusher. They could also get one in free agency.
If the Panthers do keep their seventh pick, they will take Isaiah Simmons from Clemson. The fact that he can play multiple positions on defense is something that will attract the Panthers to him. He’s quick and, as the NFL.com said, “shrinks the field against dual-threat quarterbacks,” which is something that makes him very valuable. One downside to consider is that he doesn’t have the knowledge Kuechly had at the linebacker position, which is something the Panthers might miss. He also needs to draw on more than just his natural abilities. He has to study plays and watch film to compliment what Shaq Thompson already does on the field. If he can do that, he could be a good fit in Carolina.
Round 2, Pick 38
Derrick Brown, Defensive Line, Auburn
The second-round pick goes to Derrick Brown, a defensive lineman out of Auburn. The Panthers made substantial changes to their defensive line, including letting Mario Addison go in free agency. Brown has the makings of a top-10 draft pick, which is why if he is still available this late in the draft, the Panthers should pick him up. Another option for the team would be to trade up for him. The Panthers could take their fourth-round pick this year and next year’s first-round pick and trade it to the Kansas City Chiefs at the end of the first round to try and pick him up.
His 12 sacks over four years at Auburn were impressive. The Panthers should fully expect him to continue to produce for them right out of college.
Round 3, Pick 69
Thaddeus Moss, Tight End, LSU
A good pick for the Panthers in the third round of the Carolina Panthers mock draft would be LSU’s junior tight end, Thaddeus Moss. As mentioned before, he’s a young tight end who has similar physical characteristics as Greg Olsen. More than that, though, he has a following in North Carolina that he can build on. The injury he sustained to his right foot is something that might be of concern to the Panthers. Olsen broke or injured the same foot three times. The Panthers might not be ready to revisit that injury. Moss is still the best option because of his size. At 6 feet 3 inches, he is a considerable size bigger than many of today’s safeties in and linebackers in the league.
One negative for Moss is that he went to high school in Charlotte, and Charlotte boys don’t usually pan out in Carolina. For that reason, he might not be the best fit for the Panthers.
Round 4, Pick 113
A.J. Green, Corner, Oklahoma State
The Panthers will take A.J. Green with their fourth pick, a cornerback from Oklahoma State. At 6 feet 1 inch, he has the length that they would probably like, and he would be on the taller side of their cornerback depth chart. Why is he a good pick up? He posted six interceptions during his college career, five pass deflections, and 49 tackles in 2019. According to Cleveland.com, he was healthy at defending the intermediate passing game, which posted 32 forced incompletions in his last two years.
His downfall is that he doesn’t have the accurate speed to defend the long ball, which allowed 14 deep catches on 30 targets his last two years. The Panthers can work on that with him and help him find ways to get to the ball. He would be a project for them, but if they can help rehabilitate his speed, he would be a quality low-round pickup for them.
Round 5, Pick 148
Freddie Swain, Wide Reciever, Florida
They have made plenty of moves this offseason already, including trading Kyle Allen to the Washington Redskins for this fifth-round draft pick. Freddie Swain would be an excellent wide receiver to add to the competition pool during training camp (assuming there will be one). He was the second-best receiver on Florida’s depth chart, but just as productive. His size and speed are perfect for Bridgewater and his ability to get off quick strikes in the slot, a place where Swain thrives.
Round 5, Pick 152
Chase Claypool, Wide Reciever, Notre Dame
The Panthers need weapons for Teddy Bridgewater, much like he had with the New Orleans Saints. Chase Claypool would be a good pickup for them in the fifth round. He’s over 6 feet so he can catch over most corners and safeties. No matter where he is on the field, he can use that size to his advantage.
His downfalls aren’t something that he can help, but if he wants to be part of the Panthers rebuilding process, he’s going to have to do a lot of that work on his own. The biggest of those is his lack of ability to be ready with catch-ready hands. What that means is that if he’s running a route, he’s probably dropping a ton of balls. Luckily, he has Bridgewater there, and that is something they can work on together.
Round 6, Pick 184
Stanford Samuels III, Corner, Florida State
Going back to the defensive side of the ball, the Panthers need to stack up at the cornerback position. If he’s still around in the sixth round, they should look at Stanford Samuels III, a cornerback out of Florida State. His height gives him an advantage against some of the more prominent players in the league, and he possesses excellent ball skills, which will help him a great deal on Carolina’s defense.
He didn’t perform well in the combine and didn’t have much production at FSU, but the plays he did make, show a determined player, one that would play with a chip on his shoulder and with plenty to prove.
Round 7, Pick 221
Prince Tega Wanogho, Tackle, Auburn
The last pick of the Carolina Panthers mock draft, they should pick up Prince Tega Wanogho, an offensive lineman out of Auburn. He is good at run-blocking, which would fit well into the Panthers offense provided they keep Christian McCaffrey. He has some issues with his hands, and his opponents might take advantage of it. If he uses his time on the Panthers wisely, he should be able to develop some hand techniques that trick them. He has a longer torso that doesn’t match his shorter arms, so that poses another challenge. Also, the Panthers want to know how he’ll adjust against different defenses.
Carolina Panthers Mock Draft 2020
Over the last month, the world has been consumed with COVID-19 news while sports have taken a backseat. The draft should go on as scheduled but will probably look different for the first time in a long time.
Carolina is rebuilding its team, and they need many pieces. If they were wise, they wouldn’t waste all their picks on one side of the ball, as some mock drafts are suggesting. If they are serious about it, look for them to be aggressive with their picks.
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