Could Panthers Go Big With Andrew Thomas?

Schuyler Callihan

The 2020 NFL Draft is just right around the corner and with Tuesday's news of the Carolina Panthers planning to "move forward" with Cam Newton as their starting quarterback, it could change their approach to the draft.

In our most recent 2020 Panther Maven mock draft, we projected the Panthers to select Clemson linebacker Isaiah Simmons with the seventh overall pick. Although Simmons or Auburn defensive lineman Derrick Brown may seem like the most obvious choice, Carolina could turn their attention to Georgia offensive lineman Andrew Thomas. 

Last season, the Panthers offensive line ranked dead last in the NFL in sacks allowed, averaging 3.6 sacks allowed per game. If Cam Newton is expected to be the team's starting quarterback in 2020, it might not be a bad idea to use that seventh overall pick on an offensive lineman. 

Thomas is a big, athletic tackle that has great lateral movement and moves around much better than your typical offensive lineman. According to the DraftNetwork.com, Thomas, "Has the foot speed needed to win and does a wonderful job of playing with extension and winning with first contact. Does well to place and fit his hands. Timing and location of his punch is precise. Delivers powerful punches that stun pads."

Yesterday at the NFL Combine, Thomas measured in at 6'5 1/8 and 318 pounds. 

Getting Cam Newton healthy and keeping him healthy is Matt Rhule's number one priority and to do that, you have to be able to protect him. Newton will take his fair share of hits with his physical approach to the game, but limiting those hits is what is most important. By selecting a guy like Thomas, you are able to sure-up Newton's blindside, which will make things less nerving on the veteran quarterback.

Do you think Thomas would be a good pick for the Panthers to make in the first round? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below!

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