Coming off a 6–10 campaign, the Panthers are looking for a major bounce-back going into the 2017 season. How will they use their picks in the NFL draft? We’re breaking down every selection below.
Here's the full list of picks the Panthers hold in the 2017 draft, which will be updated as each selection is made.
Round 1, Pick 8 (No. 8 overall)
Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford: Remember all that talk about how McCaffrey didn’t have a “natural position fit” in the NFL and how teams would have to tweak their offenses to fit him? Forget it. It was ridiculous all along. McCaffrey ran between the tackles with great effectiveness in college, and he has the pass-catching chops to smoke defenses from the slot. He brings a completely different element to the Panthers’ offense, one that QB Cam Newton should benefit greatly from having. McCaffrey is a better fit for this scheme than Fournette, who was rumored to be in the Panthers’ sights as well. Carolina’s secondary and lines still need addressing at some point, but McCaffrey is as clean a prospect as there is in this draft. GRADE: A-
Round 2, Pick 8 (No. 40)
Curtis Samuel, RB/WR, Ohio State: Hoo boy, that Carolina offense is going to be fun to watch. Both Samuel and first-round pick Christian McCaffrey are uber-athletic running backs with potential out of the slot. It's fair to wonder, though, if this was overkill. If McCaffrey’s getting touches all over the field, how is Samuel getting involved? The Panthers still have needs at CB, DE and OT. GRADE: C+
Round 2, Pick 32 (No. 64)
Taylor Moton, G, Western Michigan: And there’s the other Day 2 offensive tackle capable of stepping in as a rookie starter. The Panthers overpaid for Matt Kalil to play LT, so this is probably a safety net on the right side for Michael Oher, whose concussion issues have put his future in jeopardy. Moton is a mauler—a plug-and-play option for the Panthers’ revamped offense. GRADE: A
Round 3, Pick 13 (No. 77)
Daeshon Hall, DE, Texas A&M: Anzalone is an ultra-athletic linebacker who just could not stay healthy at Florida. If he does, he easily could be the best playmaker in the Saints’ linebacking corps—and that’s as of 2017, not beyond. It’s a risk, but also addresses a need for New Orleans as it tries hard to fix its defense. GRADE: B+
Round 5, Pick 8 (No. 152) Corn Elder, LB, Miami
Round 6, Pick 8 (No. 192) Alex Armah, FB, West Georgia
Round 7, Pick 15 (No. 233) Harrison Butker, K, Georgia Tech