clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

The 2019 NFL draft talent aligns nicely with the Panthers needs

New, comments

It’s not a good year for the skill positions and that is okay

Washington State v Utah Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images

It’s not a good year for the skill positions. Thankfully the Panthers don’t have any immediate needs in those areas outside of a third wide receiver. Instead the Panthers immediate top needs are offensive tackle and defensive end. That aligns well with a first round loaded with defensive linemen at the top. My preference is a left tackle to protect Cam Newton’s blind side. Two other positions of immediate need for the Panthers are safety and linebacker. I would then round out the top six needs as center and guard.

1st round

The talent at the top of the first round is unusually heavy in defensive lineman. In fact it is a banner year for defensive tackles and edge rushers. There are an estimated ten defensive linemen that could be drafted in the top twenty picks, if not more. It is very likely an edge rusher in particular could be there for the taking at number sixteen. That will be hard for the Panthers to turn down. If a pass rusher isn’t the pick then there are several talented players who could play left tackle that should be available.

The middle rounds

More good news, the second and third rounds are loaded with quality offensive linemen and safeties. I’ve seen several different mock drafts with the Panthers selecting a safety in the second round. While the draft is light at the top in safety talent there is upwards of eight safeties with second to fourth round grades.

If the Panthers neglect to draft a tackle early they should still be able to find one in the middle rounds. I count fifteen tackles with third round to fifth round grades. Other options include half a dozen centers and upwards of ten guards that should be value picks between rounds three and five. If the Panthers decide to draft a center they should do so in the 3rd round at the latest as this draft is light in depth at the position. Guards on the other hand could be one of the most heavily drafted positions in this draft.

The X factor

Guessing exactly what the Panthers might do is complicated by the announcement the Panthers will incorporate a lot more 3-4 looks on defense. The Panthers’ current personnel don’t exactly fit a 3-4 defense at a couple positions. Those needs could be filled in this draft.

We know they need a linebacker to replace Thomas Davis but they may look for another middle linebacker to play along Luke Kuechly in 3-4 alignments. They might also look for an under tackle flexible enough to play end in a 3-4. It’s hard any year to predict what the Panthers will do in the draft. This year will be no exception. The good news is they have a really good chance of filling several of their most glaring needs.