The Panthers addressed a number of issues throughout the draft as they look to return to the playoffs after missing out in 2018. The first four rounds went to Panthers tradition largely, as they addressed the trenches, whilst also protecting against injury to Cam Newton as he rehabs after shoulder surgery.
1st Round Instant Starter – Brian Burns (Edge)
Burns is a day one difference maker who will be a much needed injection of athleticism on the Panthers D-line, who had just 35 sacks a year ago. He is a clever rusher with a range of moves to go with his athleticism. With fellow rookie Christian Miller lining up behind him, Burns was one of the best edge rushers in college football last season will take a lot of attention and could help Dontari Poe and Kawann Short to create some pass rush as well as being more effective against the run.
2nd Round Training camp battle – Gregg Little (LT)
With a QB who has been struggling with injuries it is always good to strengthen the line, especially when your QB runs as much as Cam Newton. Little will have a fight on his hands to start day one ahead of Taylor Moton at Left Tackle but is a great addition for the Panthers. He is flexible, with good bend, can adjust mid-block and moves well laterally. Once he is battle-tested at a pro level he will be a key asset for Newton.
3rd Round Backup – Will Grier (QB)
The Panthers pulled the trigger with the 100th pick in the draft, taking a QB. Obviously this is more about Cam Newton’s fitness and how much they struggled with Kyle Allen and Taylor Heinecke in relief. With Newton’s physical style, the Panthers are a team that need a quality backup more than most and Grier comes with pedigree. Drafted from West Virginia, he may be a product of the system but he keeps his eyes downfield and is clutch late in tight games. Grier is cerebral and can audible into plays well, however he needs to work on his throwing technique, especially if he wants to add more power to his throwing.
4th Round Sub package player – Christian Miller (Edge)
While Brian Burns was the headline grabber, Miller helped to add depth behind him. The Alabama alum will likely slot in at will linebacker. He is athletic and penetrates the offensive line with ease. As a rookie he will be a designated pass rusher as he lacks the strength to play against the run. Of course, he will need to strengthen and bulk without losing his athletic edge to play on early downs.
5th Round Backup – Jordan Scarlett (RB)
Scarlett is a power back that the Panthers could use to compliment Christian McCaffrey. He tries to play like LeVeon Bell and be patient but can caught in the backfield. Once he finds space, he is tough to get to the ground. If he improves vision, he will be a big threat, though he can create space for himself too. He will be on the day one roster and will battle with Cameron Artis-Payne for the backup role at running back.
6th Round Roster bubble flyer – Dennis Daley (T)
Daley faced college football’s finest pass rushers last Autumn between Georgia, Alabama and of course Clemson. The South Carolina native probably wasn’t helped giving up a few sacks throughout the season but developed throughout the year against the nation’s best youth and starred against Clemson’s vaunted D Line. He has a good build and adjusted his technique to improve hand placement. If he is placed on the practice squad, he will be a high commodity but perhaps needs time on an NFL roster to develop his balance and awareness to become a full time starter.
7th Round Sub package player – Terry Godwin (WR)
Godwin stands a good chance to make the roster as a slot receiver. While there are currently 10 receivers on the roster, beyond DJ Moore, Torrey Smith and Jarius Wright, there is very little depth. Godwin is a solid receiver who could relieve the pressure on Greg Olsen to stay healthy as he nears retirement too. Godwin is a good route runner and adjusts well but he short arms catches too often and needs to be physical against defenders to earn his spot on the roster.