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Draft Analysis

NFL Draft Needs: Panthers

by Evan Silva
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

Evan Silva (@EvanSilva) is the Senior Football Editor for Rotoworld's NFL Page, and Josh Norris (@JoshNorris) leads Rotoworld's college football and NFL draft coverage. Together, they're breaking down every team's biggest needs and offering potential draft-day solutions.

For a breakdown on every team, check out the team-by-team draft preview schedule.


No. 1 Team Need: Defensive Line



Silva's Analysis


The Panthers' defensive line depth chart would look impressive on paper for most teams, but Carolina GM Dave Gettleman prides himself on stockpiling "hog mollies" in the trenches to work in a deep rotation, keeping its members fresh. Expect the Panthers to draft another edge rusher and/or an interior gap shooter.


No. 2 Team Need: Defensive Back

Silva's Analysis

CBs Josh Norman and Brandon Boykin and FS Kurt Coleman are all in contract years. CB Bene Benwikere has two years left on his rookie deal. The Panthers need an immediate starter at strong safety to replace free agent SS Roman Harper. They could also use a young cornerback prospect in case Benwikere doesn't come back at full strength from last December's broken leg. Benwikere is expected to move from the slot to outside, a potentially difficult transition.


No. 3 Team Need: Offensive Tackle

Silva's Analysis

Both of Carolina's bookend tackles -- LT Michael Oher and RT Mike Remmers -- are entering contract years. Remmers struggles with edge speed and should face competition for his starting job. Oher is coming off a career-best season in pass protection, but ranked dead last in Pro Football Focus' run-blocking grades.


Norris' Mock Draft

Round 1 (30): DL Kenny Clark, UCLA - Yes, a strength of the team is defensive tackle. But Kawann Short is about to get paid before Star Lotulelei’s contract is up. It would not surprise me if the Panthers are thinking that far ahead, especially with Star’s foot injury history. And even if Star does stay, which makes sense since he is a very talented player, Ron Rivera loves to use a rotation up front. Clark can play both techniques on the interior and was dominant to open the 2015 season. Dave Gettleman won’t be able to resist this defensive tackle in the first three rounds.


Round 2 (62): EDGE Ronald Blair, Appalachian State - The Panthers absolutely need edge rushing help, and Blair would also offer interior pass rushing in certain packages. I know Blair tested like a below-average athlete, but he flashes explosion and frequently wins one on one battles once forcing his opponent off balance and shedding in the backfield.


Round 3 (93): S K.J. Dillon, West Virginia - I’m expecting Dillon to be drafted much earlier than many evaluators are projecting. Karl Joseph has received much of the attention during the draft process, but don’t forget about Dillon. He can play closer to the box, cover slot receivers and typically wants to finish plays with big hits.


Round 4 (129): CB Ryan Smith, North Carolina Central - The small school corner has received a lot of praise during the process. He would fit the Panthers’ combo zone/man scheme well. If I had to, I’d bet against Josh Norman being on the roster in 2017, so a corner could absolutely be picked earlier.


Round 5 (168): WR Jalin Marshall, Ohio State - The Panthers are showing a lot of interest in speedy receivers. Marshall was a surprise entrant, however he has some intriguing skills. At the very least, he could offer some return ability as it is the last year on Ted Ginn’s deal.


Round 7 (252): G Vi Teofilo, Arizona State - I slightly disagree with Evan that tackle will be upgraded. With last year’s fourth-round pick Daryl Williams in the fold, backup guard is the position most lacking in depth. Teofilo is at his best on the move, and the Panthers like to use their guards on traps and pulls.




Panthers Current Offensive Depth Chart


QB: Cam Newton


RB: Jonathan Stewart


WR: Kelvin Benjamin


WR: Ted Ginn


WR: Corey Brown


TE: Greg Olsen


LT: Michael Oher


LG: Andrew Norwell


C: Ryan Kalil


RG: Trai Turner


RT: Mike Remmers


Panthers Current Defensive Depth Chart


LE: Charles Johnson


RE: Kony Ealy


DT: Kawann Short


DT: Star Lotulelei


MLB: Luke Kuechly


SLB: Thomas Davis


WLB: Shaq Thompson


LCB: Josh Norman


RCB: Bene Benwikere


FS: Kurt Coleman


SS: Tre Boston

Evan Silva
Evan Silva is a senior football editor for Rotoworld.com. He can be found on Twitter .