The Panthers finished the 2018 season at just 7–9 after going 1–7 in the second half of their schedule. They were eliminated from playoff contention with a loss to the Falcons in Week 16, but ended the season with a 33–14 win over their divisional rival, New Orleans.
Carolina selected wide receiver D.J. Moore with its first pick in the 2018 draft last year. The Maryland product finished his rookie campaign with 55 receptions for 788 yards and two touchdowns. Another strong selection this year could help the team to boost the offense around a hopefully healthy Cam Newton, who enters his ninth season under center for the Panthers. Newton underwent shoulder surgery this offseason and Carolina has given no timetable for when he will begin throwing again as the team starts preseason workouts.
We're breaking down each of the Panthers' selections in this year's NFL draft—including grades from The MMQB's Andy Benoit—as well as providing a full list of Carolina's picks, which will be updated as the draft continues.
Round 1, Pick 16 (No. 16 overall): Brian Burns, EDGE, Florida State
Andy Benoit's grade: B+
Pliability and burst are vital for edge rushing, and edge rushing is vital in Carolina’s true 4-3 zone-based scheme. Burns, lanky and explosive, fits the profile. The Panthers are set—for now—at right end, with underappreciated star Mario Addison (though he’ll be 32 and is a free agent in 2020). In the meantime, Burns can split time with the recently acquired Bruce Irvin at the left edge spot that opened up when Julius Peppers retired. Size and playing strengths are a concern with Burns; don’t be surprised if he plays only in obvious passing situations as a rookie.
Round 2, Pick 5 (No. 37 overall): Greg Little, T, Mississippi
Andy Benoit's grade: B-
Little has the size and physical attributes to be a ready-made pass protector in 2019. Scouts like his hand-foot coordination and arm length. Stylistically, that fits the left side, which would suggest that 2017 second-rounder Taylor Moton, who dabbled at left tackle early last year but is more confident at right tackle, will have a long-term home at his top position. It would also suggest that Daryl Williams, who has been solid but missed essentially all of last season with a knee injury, will not be re-signed when his contract expires after this season. Or, if the Panthers do retain Williams (who is only 26 and improved a lot in 2017), they could move Moton to guard. The addition of Little gives them stability and options.
Round 3, Pick 36 (No. 100 overall): Will Grier, QB, West Virginia
Andy Benoit's grade: B+
And so it turns out that the dark horse QB in this draft wasn’t a dark horse at all, just another projected long-term backup. Given Cam Newton’s shoulder problems, backup QB might prove to be a critical position in Carolina.
Round 4, Pick 13 (No. 115 overall): Christian Miller, OLB, Alabama
Round 5, Pick 16 (No. 154 overall): Jordan Scarlett, RB, Florida
Round 6, Pick 40 (No. 212 overall): Dennis Daley, OT, South Carolina
Round 7, Pick 23 (No. 237 overall): Terry Godwin, WR, Georgia
See every NFL team's 2019 picks by clicking the links below.
Arizona Cardinals | Atlanta Falcons | Baltimore Ravens | Buffalo Bills | Carolina Panthers | Chicago Bears | Cincinnati Bengals | Cleveland Browns | Dallas Cowboys | Denver Broncos | Detroit Lions | Green Bay Packers | Houston Texans | Indianapolis Colts | Jacksonville Jaguars | Kansas City Chiefs | Los Angeles Chargers | Los Angeles Rams | Miami Dolphins | Minnesota Vikings | New England Patriots | New Orleans Saints | New York Giants | New York Jets | Oakland Raiders | Philadelphia Eagles | Pittsburgh Steelers | San Francisco 49ers | Seattle Seahawks | Tampa Bay Buccaneers | Tennessee Titans | Washington Redskins