The Carolina Panthers head coach is likely entering a make-or-break season in 2022 and doesn’t really have a roster to fend it off. After giving big contracts to players like Christian McCaffrey, and others, the draft may be their only salvation.
Unfortunately, the Panthers only have six draft picks. Only one of those picks is in the first two days. Thanks to an ill-advised Sam Darnold trade, they have only one shot at an impact player in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Let’s see how it plays out.
CAROLINA PANTHERS: 7-ROUND MOCK DRAFT
1-6: Evan Neal, OT, Alabama
If Matt Rhule was flirting with unemployment, I could make an argument to take a quarterback here. Instead, I opt to go with the franchise left tackle. If not Evan Neal, I could see either Charles Cross, Ikem Ekwonu, or even Trevor Penning being an option at 6.
4-137: Alec Lindstrom, C, Boston College
The Panthers signed center Bradley Bozeman to a one-year deal. So, after 2022 the position could be open again. Lindstrom was very good at BC next to Zion Johnson. He could back up the interior spots in 2022 before possibly moving into the starting lineup next season.
5-144: Damarri Mathis, CB, Pittsburgh
Mathis had solid tape for the Panthers this year and followed that up with a so-so Senior Bowl. Then Mathis blew up his pro day. He is fast and explosive. Mathis would be a solid reserve corner to start with who can contribute more in a pinch.
THE REST OF THE DRAFT
5-149: Markquese Bell, S, Florida A&M
6-199: Jerrion Ealy, RB, Mississippi
7-242: Keir Thomas, DL, Florida State