Panthers Outlook for the 2020 NFL Draft: Draft Needs
It feels like a broken record to talk about the same issues with the Panthers. The run defense gets gashed, Kyle Allen turns over the ball a lot, McCaffrey is the best player on the team, and the Panthers lose. And there’s your recap. The Panthers suffered another difficult loss this past Sunday against the Seahawks. With the team sitting at the bottom of the division, it has caused me to think a great deal about who the Panthers should draft. So, with this review, let’s take a look at the draft needs the Panthers have going into 2020.
Whether this need is addressed in free agency or whether it is addressed during the draft, the offensive line needs help. They desperately need help. Injuries have severely hurt the offensive line, leaving Trai Turner as the only good offensive lineman they have. In the past few months, rookie Greg Little was placed on IR along with Greg Van Roten who was starting some games as well. It has been a rotating door of disappointment all season long.
There are several linemen, who still have a lot left in the tank, that are going to be up for free agency at the end of this season. If the Panthers wanted to they could start addressing the need for help then. There are also great offensive linemen going into this draft. The Panthers are falling closer and closer to getting a top ten pick. I could easily see them going after a guy like Austin Jackson out of USC or Alex Leatherwood out of Bama. It isn’t a sexy pick but either one of these guys would provide a great contribution to the team.
It is clear that D.J. Moore is the number one receiver for the Panthers right now. He has had a 1,000-yard season and has been a consistent player on the offense. There are two reasons why the Panthers need a receiver. First, there is no true number two guy besides Moore. Greg Olsen has been dealing with injuries and he is on the decline. Receiver Curtis Samuel has only had about 500 yards receiving on the year. And of course, Christian McCaffrey is doing his thing by having a phenomenal year with 2,000 all-purpose yards. There needs to be a second receiving threat that is neither a running back or a tight end.
Second, the Panthers need a threat besides Moore and McCaffrey. In order to preserve McCaffrey’s career, it would be smart to find another threat for defenses to have to worry about. When you can key in on one player, it can really screw up your offense. The receiving class for this upcoming draft is going to be amazing. It is a super deep class loaded with talent. I find it hard to believe the Panthers will go without taking a receiver in rounds 2-3.
Cornerback is a position that really needs to be addressed in either free agency or the Draft as well. Watch the Panthers games from this season and one thing that remains consistent is that anyone outside of James Bradberry can not cover. Donte Jackson has shown flashes of greatness but he has been getting toasted by receivers all season. His struggle to cover was really brought to life this week against the Seahawks as Tyler Lockett had a field day against him. The corners are great in this draft. If the Panthers wanted to they could try for Free Agency as well. There are several corners who are looking for a change of scenery next season.
The Panthers have a lot of needs to address, but at the same time, there is a lot of talent on the team. Luke Keuchly and Shaq Thompson are the leaders of the defense and have been the bright spots. On offense, McCaffrey has been phenomenal and Panthers’ fans are awaiting the return of Cam Newton. There are so many questions surrounding the Panthers going into this offseason from Cam to the coaching to even the higher up positions in the franchise. It should be interesting to see how Free Agency plans out in anticipation for the Draft. If the Panthers make any moves in Free Agency it should tell us a lot about where the team is going to go during the Draft.
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