The 2022 NFL Draft was less exciting for the Panthers than last year’s trade fest, but they managed to come away from the weekend with a solid slate of players who fill immediate and long-term needs for the franchise.
The Panthers did manage to make a few trades over the weekend: they traded up to No. 94 overall to take a quarterback (Matt Corral), and they packaged two fifth round picks to move into the fourth round to grab a linebacker (Brandon Smith). It might not be as exciting as last year, but Scott Fitterer made the moves he needed to make to come away with a solid class in his second year as general manager.
Obviously you can’t grade a draft class before its members have even played a down of professional football, but for a team with as many holes and shallow position groups as the Panthers have, and with limited draft picks at the start of the weekend, this was exactly the draft they needed to have.
Of course, that won’t stop us from grading them all later. For now, let’s just meet the full 2022 draft class for the Carolina Panthers:
Round 1, Pick No. 6 overall: Ikem Ekwonu, OT, N.C. State
Round 3, Pick No. 94 overall: Matt Corral, QB, Ole Miss
Round 4, Pick No. 120 overall: Brandon Smith, LB, Penn State
Round 6, Pick No. 189 overall: Amare Barno, EDGE, Virginia Tech
Round 6, Pick No. 199 overall: Cade Mays, OL, Tennessee
Round 7, Pick No. 242 overall: Kalon Barnes, CB, Baylor
That’s a solid class that has strong potential to deliver the Panthers both quality starters and depth, both of which were desperately needed heading into the draft.
What grade do you give the Panthers’ 2022 draft?
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