The 2019 NFL Draft is this month, which means that The Game Haus will be doing draft profiles for every team. Each NFL team will be looked at heading into this year’s draft including what their needs are and who they could be targeting. The Carolina Panthers will be the 16th team evaluated.
Carolina started off the year hot, but faded down the stretch. A lot of this was due to Cam Newton’s shoulder injury. Ron Rivera was retained as head coach heading into the 2019 season.
The Panthers scored 23.5 points per game, which ranked them in the top half of the league. They were fourth in rushing and 16th in passing. Newton had a decent year before the injury with 28 total touchdowns. Their wide receivers didn’t play well given that Christian McCaffrey was their leading receiver, but rookie D.J. Moore showed flashes of potential. The running game was much improved with the emergence of Christian McCaffrey, who had over 1,000 rushing yards and 800 receiving yards. The offensive line wasn’t great last season and some improvements are needed for the offseason. Center Matt Paradis was signed to help shore up the offensive line and the rest of the offense mostly stayed in tact.
Their defense struggled more than usual, allowing 23.9 points per game, which ranked them 19th in the league. Kawann Short and Dontari Poe gave them good defensive tackle play. Julius Peppers, Mario Addison led a below average pass rush that registered just 35 sacks. The linebackers were great with Luke Keuchly and Thomas Davis leading the way, as Keuchly led the way with 130 tackles. Eric Reid had a solid season at safety after being signed and Donte Jackson had s good rookie year at corner, but the secondary was pretty mundane overall. Peppers retired and Davis left in free agency, which leaves a few holes on their defense, but Bruce Irvin was signed to help the pass rush.
2019 NFL Draft Picks
The Panthers have seven picks in the 2019 NFL Draft.
First Round (one pick): No.16
Second Round (one pick): No. 47
Third Round (two picks): No. 77, No. 100
Fourth Round (one pick): No. 115
Fifth Round (one pick): No. 154
Sixth Round (one pick): No. 187
Offensive Tackle- Daryl Williams was brought back, but he and Taylor Moton aren’t a good tackle combination.
Offensive Guard- Trai Turner will likely stay a starter, but the other guard spot needs to be better.
Wide Receiver- Devin Funchess is now with the Colts. Luckily Moore has stepped up. They still need another receiver to complement him.
Cornerback- Outside of Jackson, the Panthers don’t have much at the position.
Safety- Reid is a solid starter. Carolina just needs someone who can start alongside him.
Defensive End- Even with Irvin signed, more is needed to make the pass rush good.
Linebacker- With Thomas Davis gone, they’ll have to get another linebacker outside of Keuchly and Shaq Thompson.
2019 NFL Draft Targets
Pick No. 16: Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida
There is a lot of disagreement over who the first tackle off the board will be and which team will make the selection. With that, a few different players could slide to the Panthers. Taylor was a solid right tackle at Florida and can continue to be so in the pros. The offensive line may need some juggling after this to move someone inside, but Moton or Williams could slide inside to allow Taylor to play tackle.
Pick No. 47: Jachai Polite, Edge, Florida
The Panthers could double up on Florida players in this draft. Polite is a good pass rusher with a quick first step, which could really rejuvenate the pass rush. He was once seen as a first-round prospect, but did poorly on both drills and interviews at the combine. If Carolina can live with that, they could snag a talented pass rusher in round two.
Pick No. 77: David Long, CB, Michigan
Carolina needs cornerbacks, but they rarely address the issue with one of their first couple picks in a draft because they can sometimes find value later, due to their zone scheme. Long has experience in both man and zone at Michigan and could end up starting across from Jackson.
Pick No. 100: Amani Hooker, S, Iowa
The safety class is all over the map with everyone having a different favorite prospect. This is mostly due to inconsistencies of the players, but it could allow the Panthers to get a solid safety in the third round. Hooker is extremely versatile and could be a huge weapon for the Panthers to move around the field.