While the Panthers intend to go more offense than they did in the last draft, I still think the defense could use some help. So in this mock, I send the Panthers some very exciting defensive and offensive prospects.
Round 1 Pick 8: Caleb Farley CB Virginia Tech
Even with the emergence of Donte Jackson, the Panthers still need a true No. 1 cornerback. I think Jackson could be a high-level #2, and Farley could be the #1 corner. Phil Snow adds a very talented young corner to help boost his young defense in Year 2 of his regime.
Round 2 Pick 40: Jalen Mayfield OT Michigan
The Panthers desperately need offensive linemen, especially seeing as how Moton's deal is set to expire this offseason. Mayfield is a stud tackle who can play either side, as well as a high-upside prospect at guard. He has nice athleticism with all the physical tools needed to succeed at the next level. If Carolina manages to retain Moton, the Panthers would have a nice start, with Mayfield and Moton manning the QB's blindside.
Round 3 Pick 72: Richie Grant S UCF
After receiving high praise from 2nd-year head coach Matt Rhule at the Senior Bowl, Grant is an exciting player to watch out for as the draft approaches. With Panthers mainstay safety Tre Boston being cut recently, the UCF free safety could take his spot in the middle of the field. Grant, Chinn, Farley, and Jackson would be a nice young core for the secondary going forward in this rebuild.
Round 4 Pick 113: Jamie Newman QB Wake Forest
Jamie Newman had the opportunity to play for Georgia this year, to show personnel departments his tantalizing tools and upside he displayed while at Wake Forest. However, with the pandemic taking over, Newman decided to do what he thought was best for his family at the time. With this pick, the Panthers get their potential franchise QB who can sit behind Teddy for a year until he is ready to start. This may be risky but Tepper and Fitterer have shown that ability to take the risk.
Round 5 Pick 153: Tony Fields II LB West Virginia
Panthers pick up a potential starting linebacker in Tony Fields, who displayed leadership qualities and great instincts while at West Virginia. His versatility and athleticism can afford him to play in many different subpackages in Phil Snow's constantly-shifting defense.
Round 5 Pick 185: Patrick Johnson DE Tulane
Much like former 4th round picks Marquis Haynes and Christian Miller, Johnson could serve as a high end rotational pass rusher. Panthers still need help on the front four and pass rushers are highly valued in the NFL. With great physical traits, athleticism, football intelligence and strength, the Tulane defensive end could see some quality reps in his rookie year.
Round 6 Pick 194: Olaijah Griffin CB USC
Much like Donte Jackson, Griffin plays with a competitive edge. However, having aggressive instincts can both hurt and help him. Griffin uses his length to high-point the football and break up passes. Phil Snow loves corners who have long arms that can disrupt the pass, and Griffin would be a perfect fit in his scheme. Being a willing tackler doesn't hurt either.
Round 7 Pick 230: Matt Bushman TE BYU
Before getting hurt past season, Bushman was one of college's most exciting playmakers. He has shown the ability to not only be a quality pass-catcher but also excel as an in-line blocker. Bushman could be another player to add to the tight end room, competing with Ian Thomas for reps.