Full Press Coverage analysis shows that the Carolina Panthers’ priorities in free agency and the draft are offensive line, pass rush, secondary, and wide receiver, with the additional possibilities of tight end and running back. Even though they have a need for overall depth, the Panthers will have to focus on the aforementioned positions due to their limited salary cap and draft resources. In terms of meeting its personnel needs, Carolina is at the buffet at Golden Corral with just a bread plate in their hand.
So far in the 2019 offseason, the Panthers have made the following roster moves:
- re-signed back-up quarterback Taylor Heinicke to a one-year contract.
- signed center Matt Paradis, previously of the Denver Broncos, to a three-year contract.
- re-signed offensive tackle Daryl Williams to a three-year contract.
- released offensive tackle Matt Kalil.
- signed running back Elijah Hood, previously of the Oakland Raiders, to a one-year contract.
- exercised the option on wide receiver Torrey Smith.
- re-signed tight end Chris Manhertz to a two-year contract extension.
- re-signed defensive end Bryan Cox, Jr. to a one-year contract.
- re-signed defensive end Efe Obada to a one-year contract extension.
- re-signed linebacker Jared Norris to a two-year contract extension.
- released cornerback Captain Munnerlyn.
- re-signed safety Eric Reid to a three-year contract extension.
- re-signed safety and special teams captain Colin Jones to a two-year contract extension.
- re-signed safety Damien Parms to a one-year contract.
- released safety Mike Adams.
- signed linebacker Jonathan Celestin, cornerback Josh Thornton and wide receiver DeAndrew White to reserve/future contracts.
These personnel moves do not alter the priorities listed above. Given their cap limitations, Carolina is not expected to make any more big signings in free agency. If they do, it may be a safety, as the market at that position is larger with a lot of experienced players available for what should be cheaper contracts compared to free agents in other positions.
So the Panthers will likely focus on the draft for the remainder of their team building activities for 2019.
The Carolina Panthers have the following picks in the 2019 NFL Draft:
No. 16 (first round)
No. 47 (second round)
No. 77 (third round)
No. 100 (third round, compensatory)
No. 115 (fourth round)
No. 154 (fifth round)
No. 187 (sixth round)
Carolina traded their 2019 seventh round pick to the Buffalo Bills along with wide receiver Kaelin Clay for cornerback Kevon Seymour prior to the 2017 season.
Players that the Panthers may target in the draft will be analyzed in individual profiles. Carolina’s priorities and the players available in this year’s draft would suggest that the Panthers will focus on offensive line and pass rush in the early rounds, secondary and wide receiver in the middle rounds, and tight end and running back later in the draft, but of course the particular draft selections will depend on the value equation for the players available when it’s Carolina’s turn to pick.
To provide some idea of who the Panthers may draft, in mock drafts up to March 18th, the following NFL experts and commentators have selected these players with Carolina’s first round pick, the sixteenth pick overall:
Daniel Jeremiah, NFL.com – Garrett Bradbury, C, North Carolina State
Lance Zierlein, NFL.com – Andre Dillard, T, Washington State
Maurice Jones-Drew, NFL.com – Andre Dillard, T, Washington State
Bucky Brooks, NFL.com – Montez Sweat, EDGE, Mississippi State
Charles Davis, NFL.com – Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson
Chad Reuter, NFL.com – Clelin Ferrell, EDGE, Clemson
Pete Schrager, NFL.com – TJ Hockenson, TE, Iowa
Charlie Casserly, NFL.com – Jachai Polite, EDGE, Florida
Mel Kiper, Jr, ESPN – Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson
Todd McShay, ESPN – Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson
Kalyn Kahler, Sports Illustrated – Montez Sweat, EDGE, Mississippi State
Ryan Wilson, CBS Sports – Rashan Gary, EDGE, Michigan
Zach Buckley, Bleacher Report – Andre Dillard, OT, Washington State
Dan Kadar, SB Nation – Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson
Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News – Andre Dillard, OT, Washington State
Steve Palazzolo, Pro Football Focus – Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida
Benjamin Solak, The Draft Network – Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson
Walter Cherepinsky, Walter Football – Greg Little, OT, Ole Miss
First up in individual position profiles – offensive line.
Note: There are existing FPC draft profiles of many of the players selected by the experts above, which can be accessed through the following hyperlinks-