Each Sunday, I’ll be releasing a new Carolina Panthers seven-round mock draft. From now up until the first Sunday of April, I will not be projecting any trades.
RD 1, Pick 6: OT Charles Cross (Mississippi State)
Best pass protector in the 2022 NFL Draft class, in my opinion. The Panthers allowed 52 sacks this past season thanks to inconsistencies across the offensive line, especially at left tackle. I’m sure at some point I will switch this pick to a quarterback but I’m going to hold off on that until at least the Combine. There are some concerns with Cross in the run game coming from a pass heavy offense, but he’ll be the best prospect on the board when the Panthers are on the clock.
RD 4, Pick 106: IOL Alec Lindstrom (Boston College)
After failing to address the offensive line in the first two years of the rebuild under Matt Rhule, but that changes in this year’s draft. Lindstrom is a rock-solid prospect that could take over for Matt Paradis at center and would be a much cheaper option for a team that has several other areas to pour its money into. Getting Lindstrom in the fourth is great value.
RD 5, Pick 143: LB Leo Chenal (Wisconsin)
Chenal exploded onto the scene this past season racking up 115 tackles, 18.5 tackles for loss, and eight sacks. When you flip on the tape, he’s everywhere. Even on plays where he doesn’t make the tackle, he’s near the play or leads to someone else making the tackle. Terrific form, great vision/play recognition, and has the look of a starting linebacker in the NFL.
RD 5, Pick 148: WR Romeo Doubs (Nevada)
The Panthers could use a little more size at the receiver spot. Terrace Marshall Jr. can develop into a solid possession No. 3 receiver but adding Doubs to the mix could give him some competition. At 6’2″, 200 lbs, Doubs is a physical big-bodied receiver that was automatic on 50/50 balls while at Nevada.
RD 6, Pick 197: S Smoke Monday (Auburn)
Some how, some way, Jeremy Chinn needs to move back into a hybrid safety/linebacker role that allows him to play more downhill and down in the box. He’s too sure of a tackler and playmaker to be that far away from the action. Drafting Smoke Monday could open the door for that move. Monday is a hard-hitting, physical safety that has some position flexibility. Very good in run support racking up nine tackles for loss this past season and is fairly solid in pass coverage.
RD 7, Pick 244: EDGE Ali Fayad (Western Michigan)
Fayad offers versatility as a 3-4 outside backer or edge rusher in a 4-3. This guy absolutely tore it up in the MAC over the past five years totaling 159 tackles, 53 tackles for loss, and 28.5 tackles for loss. This past season, Fayad racked up 17.5 tackles for loss and 12 sacks. Plain and simple, this kid lives in the backfield.
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