Midseason Panthers Mock Draft

Round 1- Bryce Young, QB, Alabama

Right now we are currently projected to have the #3 pick, and while a lot could change by draft day, a top 5 pick does seem likely for us. As of now the only teams ahead of us are the Texans and the Raiders, which means there is a slight chance the best QBs will be taken before we pick, but I would bet money on the Raiders drafting a defensive player instead. While this does mean we miss out on the QB1 of the class in Stroud, Young is more than just a consolation prize. Yes, his small frame is scary, but other than that he possesses all of the qualities of a franchise QB: arm strength, accuracy, mobility, and poise under pressure. So assuming his size doesn't hold him back, he should be a really good QB for us. This pick especially makes sense if we keep Fitterer as our GM, since he has a history of drafting smaller QBs (Wilson, Corral).

Round 2 (Trade Down)- Jahmyr Gibbs, RB, Alabama

Most teams who have a pick early in the 2nd round try to trade down and capitalize on teams desperate for a player falling out of the 1st round, and since Fitterer has somewhat of a history of trading down, I could see us doing so here. From this trade down we could probably get a later 2nd round pick as well as an early 3rd round pick.

A lot of you were enamored with the idea of drafting Stroud in this year's draft and then getting his favorite receiver in Harrison Jr. in next year's draft. Unfortunately we're not in a position to get Stroud, but if we do end up with Young, why not use the same logic to get his favorite receiver as well? Yes, I get that RBs are one of the easiest positions to replace in the NFL, and Foreman has been really good for us, but we need a receiving back to complement him. Gibbs is the leading rusher and receiver for Alabama, so not only would he be a great CMC replacement, but he would also be a great security blanket for Young as he transitions to the NFL, similar to how Etienne is making life easier for Lawrence.

Round 2- Jack Campbell, ILB, Iowa

This is one the picks that we receieved from the 49ers in the CMC trade.

Considering Thompson isn't worth his contract, Luvu is better as a rotational pass-rusher, and Chinn is a hybrid LB/S, our LB core leaves a lot to be desired. Granted, there is still some talent, mainly due to Luvu and Chinn, but no one can disagree that we have lacked a quality MLB ever since Kuechly retired. Even though Campbell isn't particularly fast or athletic, which is why he would fall this far in the first place, his elite combination of instincts and tackling ability would make him a great fit for our defense.

Round 3- Jared Verse, Edge, Florida State

This is one of the picks that we received from the 49ers in the CMC trade.

Even though our offense is definitely the side of the ball that needs more work, our defense isn't without its flaws either. One of those flaws is that we lack any quality pass-rushers to complemenet Burns, so it would make sense for us to get the next best edge-rusher here. Verse should be a solid edge-rusher for us, and even though some have him projected to go higher than this, according to Walterfootball, supposedly "team sources" in the NFL see him more as a 3rd-round pick.

Round 3 (From Trade Down)- Josh Downs, WR, North Carolina

While Moore is a talented WR1, and TMJ is somewhat stepping up as our WR2, we could use some more receiving weapons after trading Anderson and CMC. Downs is a dangerously fast slot receiver, so he should fit right in as our new WR3.

Round 4- Jay Ward, S/CB, LSU

Considering our only worthwhile DBs are Horn and Chinn, and Chinn should be transitioned back to LB, our secondary could use some depth. Ward would be a good fit for us since he has experience at CB and S.

Round 4- Jordan McFadden, G/OT, Clemson

Even though our O-line has really improved this year, it never hurts to have some depth, especially when we traded our versatile back-up in Daley, and our only other versatile O-linemen (Ekwonu, Christensen) are starters. With that in mind, McFadden makes sense for us since he has experience at both tackle positions, but with his short stature he may be better suited at guard.

Round 5- Brant Kuithe, TE, Utah

You can never surround your franchise QB with too many weapons, and considering Thomas is a waste of a roster spot while Tremble's development has been stunted by bad QB play and playcalling, getting a TE here makes sense. Even if Tremble does develop into a solid TE1, at least whoever we draft could provide some receiving talent as a TE2. Kuithe would be a great value pick here as well, since he is very effective as a receiver, and the only reason why he falls this far is because of a season-ending injury he suffered.

Round 7- Charles Campbell, K, Indiana

Similar to our QB position, we have struggled to find a quality kicker ever since we hired Rhule. We all know that Pineiro isn't the long-term answer, and while Gonzalez is good when healthy, the problem is he can't stay healthy. So instead of putting ourselves in another situation where we might have to start a WR at kicker due to injury, it would make sense to use this pick on a kicker to compete with Gonzalez and/or provide depth.

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