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An Early Look at the Carolina Panthers 2024 NFL Draft Board
An Early Look at the Carolina Panthers 2024 NFL Draft Board
Apr 24, 2024 1:39 AM

The 2023 NFL season has not gone well for the Carolina Panthers, as they have started 1-7. When that happens, teams may focus on the upcoming NFL Draft as they look to improve their roster for the future. Here, we break down what the 2024 NFL Draft could look like for the Panthers, which players they could take, and who they could avoid based on their current situation.

Offensive Line Help Needed

This Panthers team needs the most help on the offensive and defensive lines. Their offensive line has been incredibly bleak, as rookie quarterback Bryce Young has had less time to throw than the team would want him to during this crucial career development period. This is one of the major reasons that the Panthers are NFL betting underdogs in virtually every game this season and they have yet to get into the win column.

The 2024 NFL Draft could be one where the Panthers could trade into the first round to grab some offensive line help without spending too much. An offensive lineman may not be selected in this draft class until the fifth overall pick, as multiple quarterbacks and Marvin Harrison Jr. are expected to go before any linemen do. That could mean the Panthers trading up to get some line help if they do jump into the first round.

If the Panthers do not trade up, they can still get some reasonably talented offensive linemen when they are slated to open their draft in the second round. Someone like Jordan Morgan, who is helping the Arizona Wildcats exceed expectations despite quarterback injuries, could be a good fit with a Panthers team that simply needs help with their o-line. Other offensive linemen who could be available around the start of the second round are Graham Barton out of Duke or Patrick Paul out of Houston, all of whom would be good fits in Carolina.

Panthers’ Current Draft Situation

Last season, the Carolina Panthers decided to draft a quarterback at the top of the 2023 NFL Draft. However, they did not have the first pick and traded with the Chicago Bears for this player. That trade resulted in the Panthers drafting Bryce Young first overall, with the Panthers giving the Bears their 2024 first-round pick in exchange for the ability to take the quarterback from Alabama.

The problem for Carolina is that Young has not been excellent in his rookie season, which has contributed to the perceived lack of identity for the franchise at this juncture. They would’ve been in line to receive the top pick in the next NFL Draft again this season had the Panthers not traded out of the first round with Chicago to get Young in the previous draft.

This leaves the Panthers with a couple of options for the 2024 draft. They can either trade back into the first round again this year, giving up other picks to do so. Or they can simply enter this year’s draft with selections in the second round and beyond. Doing so would limit which players they have to choose from but could prevent future restraints in the next draft and other upcoming drafts.

Carolina QB Situation Makes Things Interesting

Also interesting for the Panthers is where their current quarterback situation leaves them when looking ahead to the next NFL Draft. Drafting Young over CJ Stroud — an Offensive Rookie of the Year favorite — does not look like a smart move for the Panthers thus far. But the franchise appears to be committed to Young with their trade deadline strategy, which could be a sign of things for the next draft.

If the Panthers are making trades with the development of Young in mind, they are unlikely to draft a quarterback in 2024. That would significantly decrease the likelihood of them trading into the first round to grab a player at another position. It would also mean that the Panthers would likely pass on quarterbacks currently graded to go in the second round, such as Michael Penix Jr. or Shedeur Sanders.

Along with a likely refusal to draft another quarterback so soon into Young’s career, the question will be whether or not the Panthers will recruit some skill position talent to help their quarterback. It does not appear that skill position talent is a massive issue for the Panthers, as they have talented players like Miles Sanders and Adam Thielen. However, the temptation to bring in a rookie wide receiver for Young will be there in the second round and elsewhere for Carolina.

To summarize the current situation for the Carolina Panthers, they need to put a respectable roster around Bryce Young as soon as possible to determine if he is their future quarterback. To do that, some wise draft strategy will be required, whether trading back into the first round or staying put in 2024. In either case, the priority has to be pass protection and giving their young signal caller a chance to make plays.

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