The Carolina Panthers may have a top-10 pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.
A year after having to wait until No. 24 in order to make their first pick of the draft, the Carolina Panthers will be on the clock much sooner next spring. A playoff appearance in 2017, as a wild card, resulted in the late selection following a year in which the Panthers received the No. 8 overall pick and turned it into dynamic running back Christian McCaffrey.
Despite getting to make a selection 16 spots higher, McCaffrey wasn’t the first player from his position off the board. The Jacksonville Jaguars took Leonard Fournette fourth overall and some were surprised by Carolina taking McCaffrey at eight – those critics have since been silenced.
Last year, general manager Marty Hurney and the Panthers waited patiently as nearly every other NFL team made their announcements but when it was time to make a decision, the Panthers still had their pick of any wide receiver in the land. Maryland’s D.J. Moore was the determination and he continues to evolve into a weapon for quarterback Cam Newton and the offense.
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Currently holding onto the No. 10 pick, based on records up to Week 17, Hurney may again have free reign of the position he covets depending on the need of those ahead of Carolina. Depending on the results from Sunday, the Panthers could move further up into the top-10 or fall back into the middle of the pack.
At 6-9, Carolina is the lowest ranked team with identical records and a loss in New Orleans would likely solidify an early appearance at the NFL Draft in the spring. Ahead of the Panthers – Jacksonville, Tampa Bay, Buffalo, New York (NFC) and Detroit are all 5-10. None of these six teams play one another and nearly all will be underdogs but some do play in games they could win.
Depending on the results, Carolina could move up over a Detroit or Tampa Bay if either were to win. A Panthers victory over the Saints would likely push them farther down the line into the middle of round one and decrease their chance at having a full selection of prospects available, depending on the position of focus.
The Panthers and Saints are scheduled to kick off at 1:00pm EST.