The Carolina Panthers were 5-3 entering Week 10 of the 2019 regular season, but the team suffered an eight-game losing streak to finish the year 5-11.
Towards the waning weeks of the season, Carolina fired Ron Rivera and has since replaced Rivera with first-year head coach Matt Rhule. Under Rhule's new regime, the Panthers have also moved on from former league MVP Cam Newton and instead signed Teddy Bridgewater to be the team's quarterback for the foreseeable future.
In the 2019 NFL draft, Carolina looked to add impact players all over the field. They selected Florida State edge-rusher Brian Burns with the No. 16 selection. The Panthers then drafted offensive tackle Greg Little No. 37 overall. With their third-round pick, Carolina added quarterback Will Grier. In the draft's late rounds it selected linebacker Christian Miller, running back Jordan Scarlett, tackle Dennis Daley and wide receiver Terry Godwin.
According to The MMQB's NFC South team needs, the Panthers could use a "livelier interior offensive linemen who will afford Rhule and OC Joe Brady the schematic options in the ground game that they’re expected to lean on." A high-level tight end would also help both the run and pass game and is now a position of need following Greg Olsen's departure. The Panthers also have a number of defensive holes. They are relatively thin at defensive line and the sudden retirement of Luke Kuechly has left a void at linebacker. The defensive backfield also has just one clear-cut starting cornerback.
The Panthers will pick No. 7 in the first round. A full list of Carolina's picks will be updated below as the draft progresses.
Round 1, Pick 7 (No. 7 overall): Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn
Andy Benoit's analysis: There’s a new coaching staff in Carolina, but the same old drafting philosophy—taking a big, strong defensive tackle in the early rounds. Brown has superb athleticism, given his thundering size. The question is if that athleticism extends far enough to make him a consistently high-level pass rusher. No matter how dominant he might be as a run defender, it’s hard to justify taking any defensive lineman in the top 10 in today’s NFL if he can’t get to the quarterback. But pairing Brown with Kawann Short will, at the very least, make the Panthers dominant inside and make life easier on Luke Kuechly’s replacement at middle linebacker. Grade: B-
Round 2, No. 38 overall: Yetur Gross-Matos, DE, Penn State
Andy Benoit's analysis: It’s looking more and more like first-time NFL defensive coordinator Phil Snow will start his scheme with an aggressive four-down, gap-penetrating front four—a philosophy the Panthers have relied on for years and one that Snow coached under in his last NFL stint as Rod Marinelli’s linebackers instructor in Detroit (2006-08). After snatching behemoth defensive tackle Derrick Brown in Round 1, the Panthers found a classic, imposingly built 4-3 style defensive end who, thanks to the departure of veterans Mario Addison and Bruce Irvin, will likely assume a significant rotational role right away. Grade: B
Round 2, No. 64 overall: Jeremy Chinn, S, Southern Illinois
Andy Benoit's analysis: Free agent pickup Juston Burris quietly did some very nice things for Cleveland last year and deserves a chance to start alongside free safety Tre Boston, but it’s wise of Carolina to invest in a third option, especially given that Burris is versatile and may wind up playing multiple positions in a “big nickel” or dime sub-package anyway. Of note: Chinn played a lot of Quarters coverage at Southern Illinois. That matchup-zone coverage is one this Panthers secondary has played in recent years and one new defensive coordinator Phil Snow may put in the arsenal. Grade: A-
Round 4, No. 113 overall: Troy Pride, CB, Notre Dame
Round 5, No. 152 overall: Kenny Robinson, S, West Virginia
Round 6, No. 184 overall: Bravvion Roy, DT, Baylor
Round 7, No. 221 overall: Stanley Thomas-Oliver, CB, FIU
This story will be updated.