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Panthers post-free agency draft needs

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By: Jonathan DeLong

Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The important parts of free agency are done, but the Carolina Panthers are still far from a finished product.

Free agency technically isn’t over, but most moves worth making have been made by now. The Carolina Panthers were very active in the early days of free agency and did seemingly all they could to stock up the offensive side of the ball. That left the defense with a fair amount of holes, but the offense isn’t quite complete either. Now that the roster of veterans is mostly set, it’s a good chance for us to review what the Panthers would badly want to shore up via the draft.

Edge Rusher

The Panthers have a Brian Burns sized hole on the edge of their defensive line now. Yetur Gross-Matos departed in free agency as well, and the Panthers replaced the two with okay DJ Wonnum and perennial disappointment (so far?) K’Lavon Chaisson. There is a nice blend of no current production and little long term potential at the position. Ideally you’d have at least one of those things.

Wide Receiver

The Panthers did a good thing trading the departing Donte Jackson for Diontae Johnson. The latter gives Bryce Young a target that can quickly get separation, which is something that was sorely lacking from the offense last season. There’s still a notable lack of pop at the position though, and the Panthers could use another infusion of young talent at this position after Jonathan Mingo’s disappointing rookie campaign.

Interior Offensive Line

The Panthers went out and spent approximately one trillion dollars on free agent guards to beef up the interior of the line for this season. That will presumably shift incumbent guard Austin Corbett to center and on paper form a formidable unit. However, Corbett has seen his last two seasons end prematurely due to injury. The Panthers are pretty thin on depth at the position and Corbett is likely to depart into free agency after next season, so a center waiting in the wings would be a good get.

Tight End

The Panthers have arguably the weakest tight end group in the league at the moment. Tommy Tremble is the presumptive starter with Ian Thomas and Stephen Sullivan serving in rotational roles. Tremble has shown little bits of promise but has never topped 200 yards receiving in any of his three seasons. Thomas hasn’t topped that mark since his rookie season in 2018, while Sullivan is purely a depth guy.

Inside linebacker

The Panthers watched Frankie Luvu walk in free agency and replaced him with Josey Jewell. A linebacking corps of Jewell and Shaq Thompson is fine, but both will be 30 by season’s end and there is no youth at the position that looks ready to take over if one or both fall off a production cliff.


2021 first round pick Jaycee Horn has been very good when healthy. The problem is that he hasn’t been healthy often enough. Behind him, the Panthers have a hodgepodge of okay veterans and shots in the dark. They need some more young talent here.

There aren’t a lot of positions that the Panthers definitively don’t need anyone, so they can’t really go wrong on draft day.

Originally posted on Cat Scratch Reader – All Posts