The 2022 NFL Draft begins on April 28, which means that The Game Haus will be debuting draft profiles for every team. Each NFL team will be evaluated heading into this year’s draft, as our staff recaps their last season, highlights their needs and pinpoints their potential 2022 NFL Draft targets. The Carolina Panthers are the subject of today’s 2022 NFL Draft profile.
The Carolina Panthers finished 5-12 in 2021; last in the NFC South. Much of that was due to a shallow roster, but losing Christian McCaffrey for 10 of 17 games was also a culprit. They missed the playoffs for a fourth consecutive year in 2021.
After starting quarterback Sam Darnold was injured, the Panthers brought back Cam Newton, who won an MVP with the team the year they went to the Super Bowl. After losing seven games in a row to end their season, head coach Matt Rhule sits on thin ice with the organization. Here is how they could use their pick to mitigate that damage.
2022 NFL Picks
Carolina will have one pick to use in the first three rounds of the 2022 NFL Draft.
First Round (one pick): No. 6
Quarterback– Despite all the movement at the quarterback position in this crazy offseason, the Panthers still have Sam Darnold slated to start. There is a lack of great quarterback talent in this draft, but they still very much need one.
Offensive line– The Panthers had one of the worst offensive lines in the entire NFL last season. They need to upgrade badly, especially at the tackle position.
Defense– Carolina needs a bunch of different pieces on defense, which is rough because they only have one pick in the first three rounds. Linebacker, edge rusher, safety and cornerback all come to mind when thinking about pieces to add.
2022 Draft Targets
Pick No. 6: Malik Willis, QB, Liberty
The Panthers could very much trade out of this pick to add more second and third rounders. This is a very deep draft due to plenty of players taking an extra year of eligibility due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The bulk of the depth sits in the second and third rounds, and the Panthers stand pick-less in those rounds.
If they do stand pat at six, though, they need to solve their quarterback situation. Most people would expect they would do that by drafting Kenny Pickett, but Malik Willis is a stronger, more mobile, but much more raw talent.
Head coach Matt Rhule needs a dynamic quarterback to run the kind of offense that he wants to run. He also comes from the college ranks, meaning he knows how to shape and mold raw talent in his offense. Willis may have a rough rookie season, but he could also thrive with the right amount of TLC.
Other picks that could fill needs here include Charles Cross, an offensive lineman and Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner, one of the top corners in the draft.
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