Jason Hewitt's Carolina Panthers Seven-Round Mock Draft 1.0

It's time for the Panthers to get their franchise quarterback
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Round 1, Pick 8: QB Trey Lance (North Dakota State)

I plead all of the Trey Lance doubters to hear me out. Most scouts and evaluators are already highly aware of his lack of experience. Also, Lance didn't face top-tier competition, which is definitely something to consider while evaluating him. However, his upside is tremendous, which is why so many people (including myself) are so high on him. He could potentially be a nightmare for defenses in both the air and the ground. Think of Josh Allen. Lance may need some time to develop, but he has all of the necessary intangibles and football intelligence to adjust to the NFL.

Round 2, Pick 40: OT Dillon Radunz (North Dakota State)

The Panthers got their potential franchise quarterback, so they might as well draft the man who protected said quarterback's blind side with ferocity. Assuming that Carolina re-signs Taylor Moton, the offensive line could be in a very stable spot with Radunz as well. Trey Lance was able to make many explosive plays because of Radunz's dominance on the line of scrimmage. Radunz's aggression in the run game and poise in pass protection will be much needed at tackle, especially since it's likely that Russell Okung isn't the long-term solution in Carolina.

Round 3, Pick 72: FS Trevon Moehrig (TCU)

With Tre Boston out of the picture, the Panthers need a quality free safety to replace him. Trevon Moehrig could potentially fill that role. Moehrig is an explosive playmaker who is known to greatly shift the momentum of football games. If you need more context, he caught seven career interceptions in a pass-heavy Big 12 conference. He performs at his best when he's covering the middle of the field, which could complement Jeremy Chinn extremely well in the secondary. 

Round 4, Pick 114: CB Israel Mukuamu (South Carolina)

Mukuamu is an highly versatile defensive back, which is certainly defensive coordinator Phil Snow's cup of tea. The former Gamecock is primarily an outside corner, but he also played safety and slot corner in college. There have also been occasions when he would play in the box. He could potentially neutralize pass-catching backs and explosive tight ends in the league with more development.

Round 5, Pick 154: TE Tre' McKitty (Georgia)

Along with having one of the best possible names for a Carolina Panther, Tre' McKitty has displayed great athleticism at times this past season. This team has been longing for an additional red zone threat at the tight end position since Greg Olsen's exit, and McKitty might be the man to fill that role. His pass-catching ability is legitimate enough to take a chance on him in the fifth round.

Round 5, Pick 186: LB Kuony Deng (California)

Deng is a special case who is worth experimenting with. Even though he primarily played at inside linebacker in Cal's 3-4 defense, he is seemingly best suited to be an edge rusher due to his length and explosiveness at the point of attack. It is entirely possible that Deng had no business playing inside linebacker at California, but he still produced quality numbers at that position. Phil Snow could work with him and see what his best fit truly is.

Round 6, Pick 195: EDGE Malcolm Koonce (Buffalo)

Having more depth at the EDGE position certainly wouldn't hurt. Brian Burns is a young star, Yetur Gross-Matos has promising potential, and Christian Miller may develop into a quality edge rusher after missing the 2020 season due to his opt-out. However, Malcolm Koonce could potentially shake things up at this position as well. Koonce's high motor and relentless effort make him seemingly easy to work with, especially under a coach like Matt Rhule. Koonce is still somewhat raw, but he could develop into a quality role player.

Round 7, Pick 222: WR Jalen Virgil (Appalachian State)

Curtis Samuel could leave the Panthers via free agency. Virgil might not be his ideal replacement, but he produced very solid numbers at App State. If anything, Virgil could provide some depth at the wide receiver position. At 6'1, 205 pounds, he has good size along with impressive speed and acceleration. Because of his upside, Virgil is definitely worth a late-round pick.

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