The Carolina Panthers will have a lot of pressure on them coming into the 2020 NFL Draft. Panthers fans have endured a lot this offseason, watching their defensive leader, Luke Kuechly, walk off into the sunset due to his concussion history. Then other key players on their defense go into free agency. And to end it all off, their franchise QB, Cam Newton, gets released after some shady business from the Panthers front office. The outcome of this draft will decide if they’re going to be able to compete in the NFC South these next few years or sink to the bottom of the NFL.
Round 1-Pick 7
Isaiah Simmons | LB | Clemson
The Panthers have a hole nearly everywhere on their defense. This defense will need a serious upgrade if they want to get back to a top-10 defense like they had a few years ago. Isaiah Simmons is a great place to start getting this team back to their old form. Simmons can do nearly anything you ask him to do on defense expect to put his hand in the dirt. He adds much more value for the defense as a whole than someone like Derrick Brown, Javon Kinlaw, or if he falls, Jeffrey Okudah. Isaiah Simmons will be the perfect pick for the Panthers if he falls to #7.
Round 2-Pick 38
Marlon Davidson | IDL | Auburn
We addressed linebacker in the first round, so let’s address the one thing Isaiah Simmons can’t do on the defense, and that’s line up on the d-line. I think Marlon Davidson would be getting a lot more momentum this draft season if it wasn’t for Derrick Brown getting the attention he has. Davidson had an extremely aggressive attitude when he played on that dominant Auburn defensive line. It would be a steal to get this guy in the early second round looking at how he played at Auburn.
Round 3-Pick 69
Netane Muti | IOL | Fresno State
Netane Muti is one of the prospects that has been strongly affected by the lack of medical checks this offseason because of past injuries. But without considering injuries, he’s an early day two talent. Panthers have a big hole in their o-line where once pro bowl guard, Trai Turner, once played until being sent off to the LA Chargers for 31-year-old tackle, Russel Okung. In late day-2, your best option to fill that role is to take a risk on Netane Muti.
Round 4-Pick 130
Josiah Scott | CB | Michigan State
Josiah Scott certainly has the agility and explosive speed. The real concern is his size and durability. He’s only 5’9” and 185 lbs but has great coverage and agility skills. He can potentially become a solid cornerback for a little while until the Panthers can find another true starting cornerback to play on the other side of the field of Donte Jackson.
Round 5-Pick 148
Tyler Johnson | WR | Minnesota
Tyler Johnson was a huge part of Minnesota’s surprise success this past season. The thing with Johnson is while he’s good at just about everything, he’s not great at anything. And with how deep this wide receiver class is, definitely expect him to drop to day-3. Tyler Johnson will be a decent WR-4 behind Curtis Samuel and get some decent playing time.
Round 5-Pick 152
Anfernee Jennings | EDGE | Alabama
Mario Addison is one of the leaders of the Panthers defense, that walked into free agency this offseason. And while I’m a big fan of some of our ends like Eve Obada, Anfernee Jennings has some un-coachable traits that you like to have in your defensive end. His size, especially his arms, can keep separation from blockers. He’ll, at the very least, be a solid backup, and could potentially be starter throughout his career.
Round 6-Pick 184
Colby Parkinson | TE | Stanford
Greg Olsen has been an essential player for the Panthers for years. But now, with his release, a new tight end will have to take his place. Former 4th round pick, Ian Thomas, has a high chance of taking that role, but it doesn’t hurt to have a backup plan.
Round 7-Pick 282
Tyler Huntley | QB | Utah
Teddy Bridgewater is certainly going to be the starter this season unless something drastic happens, and P.J. Walker from the XFL looks like a strong backup QB. But you never know when you can find a late draft gem. I see it as a great “no-risk” pick. But he could potentially be a 3rd-string quarterback at least if he makes it through training camp. He’s a good scheme fit and worth a shot. And who knows? Maybe he can be the new face of the franchise.