2022 Panthers Mock Draft

(Right now we do not have a 2022 2nd round pick due to the Darnold trade. However, because of Rhule and Fitterer's tendency to trade down whenever possible, I predict that they'll trade down enough to acquire a 2nd round pick, as well as an additional 4th and 6th round pick)

Round 1- Rasheed Walker, OT, Penn State

We could easily be in play for a QB next year, but I don't see us drafting one for several reasons. The first is that if we were willing to pass on Fields, a very talented QB, in favor of Darnold, that means that we're committed to making him our franchise QB. The fact that we traded a package of picks, including a 2nd rounder for him further emphasizes this. Also, since next year's QB class is relatively weak, and since the improved talent of our team is likely to earn us a pick in the mid-late 1st round, we probably won't be in position to select any of the top QBs. Lastly, while I don't think Darnold is going to be a great or even good QB next year, with his new situation and weapons he should at the very least show some potential of a franchise QB, which would convince our coaching staff to give him the last year of his deal to prove himself.

Another reason why we may be convinced to keep and develop Darnold as our franchise QB, is because our O-line will probably once again be below-average, mainly due to our never-ending dilemma of the LT position. With this pick we should select the best OT prospect available to help protect Darnold and give him the best chance of developing into our franchise QB. Unfortunately I also don't think we'll be in position to select any of the tops LTs, especially because we'll be very likely to trade down, but at least Walker is still considered to be one of the better OTs in college.

Round 2- Alec Lindstrom, C, Boston College

Matt Paradis is going to be a free agent after this year, and given his subpar quality of play, I highly doubt we're going to resign him. While we have plenty of depth at guard due to our Free Agency and draft last year, we don't have any natural replacements at center for Paradis. Since it's difficult to win in the NFL without a dominant O-line, I could see us using consecutive picks on the position, especially because an improved O-line should help Darnold develop. Lindstrom is considered to be one of the top centers in this class, and should be an improvement over Paradis.

Round 3- Smoke Monday, S, Auburn

After cutting Boston and not drafting a safety last year, the depth at this position is dangerously thin. While Chinn should do well at either safety position, Burris does not appear to be much better than average, so I doubt we'll resign him once the season is over. Monday should be a great fit for our team since he's fast, instinctive, and can play either FS or SS.

Round 4- Quay Walker, ILB, Georgia

While our original 4th round pick was traded to the Jets as part of the Darnold trade, we were able to acquire another one by trading down with the Texans last year. Perryman should definitely be an upgrade over Whitehead, but he's struggled to stay healthy throughout his career, and we don't have much depth behind him, so getting the next best ILB here makes sense.

Round 4- Charleston Rambo, WR, Miami

Supposedly Robby Anderson was made available for trade during the draft, and considering we need to resign Moore soon, it seems very likely that he won't be resigned. While we have plenty of WR depth due to the recent additions of Marshall and Smith, you can never have enough talented WRs in Brady's offense, so I could see them getting the next best one here.

Round 5- Myjai Sanders, OLB, Cincinnati

Even though we just drafted an LB, we could still use more depth at the position considering we're transitioning Chinn to a full-time safety. Also, I have a feeling that Thompson will either be cut or traded in the next year or two, so this could be his eventual replacement. Sanders makes sense since he has experience as an OLB and as a pass-rushing 3-4 OLB, so he could also provide some depth behind Burns.

Round 6- Luis Aguilar, K, Northern Arizona

Normally I wouldn't use anything higher than a 7th round pick on a kicker, but with Rhule/Fitterer deciding in last year's draft that a long snapper was worth a 6th round pick, I could see them doing the same here. Slye has been solid but inconsistent for us, and since this is the last year of his contract I could see us moving on from him if he doesn't improve enough to keep his job. Aguilar is a very accurate kicker who has made some long and clutch kicks, so hopefully he can finally provide the consistent, stable presence that we've been lacking at the position for years now.

Round 6- Keidron Smith, CB, Ole Miss

While Donte Jackson has been a solid CB for us, I don't think he'll be resigned for several reasons. The first is that we just used a 1st round pick on a CB, which means that Jackson is our CB2 at best, and I'm sure he'll be asking for CB1 money. The second is that he's very injury-prone and not the most consistent of players, which isn't a good recipe for long-term success. The final reason is that he's short, and we know that Rhule and Fitterer prefer tall, lengthy CBs. Losing Jackson will hurt, but thanks to our Free Agency and draft additions, we should be set at CB2. However, since we are still letting an established starter leave, we should at least use a late round pick on the position for depth. Smith is a reasonable pick since he has the length that Rhule and Fitterer prefer in their CBs.

Round 7- Randy Charlton, DE, Mississippi State

While our D-line has several talented starters and even some solid depth, Rhule and Fitterer love to improve this position whenever possible, so a late round pick seems appropriate here. Charlton makes sense since he's versatile enough to play as a DE or as a 3-4 OLB.

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