The 2023 NFL Draft has mercifully come to an end, so it’s time to start prepping those 2024 mock drafts. But first, we should take at least a day or two to get to know the new Carolina Panthers that were acquired via the draft. Let’s get to it.
Pick #1: Bryce Young, QB, Alabama
The crown jewel of the draft class. The front office has determined that Young will be the team’s quarterback of the future. He may be small, but that didn’t stop him from being arguably the best quarterback in college football for the last two seasons. That included a Heisman Trophy at the end of the 2021 season.
The only significant weakness in Young’s evaluation is his size. He measured at 5’10.5” and 204 pounds at the combine, but that weight seems heavier than his playing weight. But other than that, he checks just about every box as a quarterback prospect. He has a strong, accurate arm, the ability to extend and make plays with his feet, and phenomenal processing speed. He’ll hopefully be the face of the franchise for the next decade-plus.
Pick #39: Jonathan Mingo, WR, Ole Miss
Great name, hopefully great wide receiver. Mingo has a physical profile similar to freakish Ole Miss receivers that preceded him like DK Metcalf and AJ Brown. He’s 6’2”, 220 pounds, ran a 4.46 40, and bench pressed 225 pounds 22 times at the combine. He runs good routes, has good hands, and is a strong runner with the ball after the catch. The production didn’t always match the traits in college, but the Panthers will try to change that at the next level.
Pick #80: DJ Johnson, Edge, Oregon
The Panthers got a little antsy and traded up to nab Johnson to add depth on the defensive edge. He’s big (6’4”, 260 pounds), and frighteningly fast for his size (4.49 40-yard dash). He’s a very old prospect, but the team still feels like he has potential to become a very good player, especially considering his relative inexperience at the position he’ll be playing in the NFL. He spent two seasons at Oregon playing as a tight end, which is a good illustration of the athleticism he brings to the table. There’s a lot of refining to do, but Johnson has the strength and explosiveness to turn into a disruptive player given enough work and the right coaching.
Pick #114: Chandler Zavala, Guard, NC State
Getting the band back together on the offensive line. Zavala spent time on the offensive line at NC State next to last year’s first round pick Ikem Ekwonu. He’s a big and extremely powerful guard that excels in the run game. He has a good base and good hands, so he has a chance to develop into a good pass blocker to along with that run blocking prowess. In short, he’s a mauler. Everybody always needs offensive line depth, and the Panthers got that in the fourth round on Saturday.
Pick #145: Jammie Robinson, Safety, Florida State
The Panthers made their final selection of the draft and used it to select a guy named Jammie (pronounced JAY-mee). He’s another teammate of a former Panthers first round pick—he spent two seasons in the South Carolina secondary with Jaycee Horn. He’s a feisty competitor that could end up as either a nickel corner or safety, or both. He’s a bit lacking in speed, but he makes up for it with above average strength and effort. He has the traits to be a good special teams player as well.
The undrafted free agents
You can find the full list of UDFAs in our tracker, so I’m not going to rehash all of them here. There is some local flavor with running back Cam Peoples out of Appalachian State and wide receiver Josh Vann out of South Carolina. Guys like Eku Leota (edge), Jalen Redmond (DT), and Rejzohn Wright (CB) might have legitimate shots to make the roster as depth pieces at their respective positions. Austin Ajiake (LB) looks like a potential special teams ace, and Bumper Pool (LB) has a sick name.
So there you have it. Your newest Carolina Panthers.