After months of talk, mock drafts and pro days, we are finally less than a week away from the start of the NFL draft.
At this time next week, we will know who the Carolina Panthers have added in the first round and what needs still have to be addressed in the final two days of the draft. Get ready, it’s going to be a crazy week.
But before we get there, there’s plenty to read and digest in preparation for the big event. Let’s get into it.
Thursday April 29, 8 PM ET
Friday April 30, 7 PM ET
Saturday May 1, Noon ET
1. The Panthers have only drafted three offensive linemen in the first round of the draft. Who are they?
2. What Panthers starting quarterback had the highest completion percentage in a season (minimum 10 completions)?
Come on, we couldn’t resist! In our fourth mock draft of the offseason, we put together two first-round scenarios. One involves an “ideal” situation for the Panthers and the other is a trade back option if Carolina decides to try and pick up a couple more draft picks: Carolina Panthers mock draft 4.0: Going all-out on offensive line where it counts. We’ll have one final mock draft next week.
Agree? Disagree? Let us know. What would you do with the Panthers’ seven picks in this year’s draft?
Check out what some other draft analysts think the Panthers could do next week in our mock draft roundup.
Speaking of mock drafts, could we see the first Clemson player selected by the Panthers this year? How about a cornerback or tight end drafted on the first two days?
Some history could be broken with this year’s draft. Check out some of what’s on the line: Carolina Panthers have some NFL draft habits that are likely to change next week
FILLING A NEED
This week, the Panthers continued the team’s offseason trend of adding starters and/or backups in free agency to positions of need. Defensive tackle DaQuan Jones was signed to a one-year deal.
Jones, 29, is 6-foot-4, 322 pounds and was initially drafted by the Titans in the fourth round of the 2014 NFL draft out of Penn State. He has spent his entire career with the Titans, including the past six years as a starter. Known for his run defense more than his pass rush, Jones has started all 16 games five times, including in each of the past three seasons.
The addition won’t preclude the Panthers from adding a three-technique defensive tackle, but the position is one of the weakest in this year’s draft class. Jones provides some insurance. Check out more here.
OFFSEASON PROGRAM BEGINS/NEW RULES
OTAs began this week with some Panthers players, including Sam Darnold, Christian McCaffrey and Jeremy Chinn, in the building. There’s plenty of restrictions and on-field work won’t begin until next month, but it’s some in-person work after an entirely virtual offseason last year.
The other news of the week was the NFL owners passing some new rules, including allowing for more flexibility with what numbers certain positions can wear.
Interested in seeing Christian McCaffrey in No. 5 or DJ Moore in No. 2? The possibilities are there, but most number changes won’t go into effect until 2022 due to a league rule that requires players to buy out their existing jersey inventory if they want to change their number for the 2021 season.
This week we put together some pre-draft videos with an overview of positional needs and some of the potential options in the first round:
We’ll be back next week with a draft preview podcast. Stay tuned!
1. Blake Brockermeyer, Jordan Gross and Jeff Otah
2. Teddy Bridgewater — 69.1% (2020)