5 players the Panthers could have drafted instead of Greg Little

(Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports) Greg Little
(Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports) Greg Little /
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Carolina Panthers
(Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports) Greg Little /

Which players could the Carolina Panthers have drafted instead of Greg Little?

The Carolina Panthers have struck gold with some of their high-end NFL Draft selections in recent years. Unfortunately, Greg Little doesn’t appear to be one of them.

Much was expected of the former Mississippi standout when the Carolina Panthers took him in the second round at No. 37 overall. Little suffered his fair share of problems during a rookie campaign that was littered with struggles and the new coaching staff who weren’t around when they drafted the tackle doesn’t seem to boast a tremendous amount of faith in the player’s ability to produce the goods.

Whether this will result in Little becoming nothing more than a backup in Carolina remains to be seen. He clearly isn’t doing enough either on the field or during practice to stake his claim and one only needs to look at the way he was rotated in the absence of Russell Okung through injury to see that much work is still to be done.

The Panthers would probably go in a different direction if they could go back and do it all again. Here are five players that Carolina will probably regret not taking instead.

Player No. 1

Carolina Panthers
(Nick Wosika-USA TODAY Sports) Irv Smith Jr. /

Irv Smith Jr. – TE

Irv Smith Jr. was taken in the second round by the Minnesota Vikings and has shown promise. The tight end came into the league with a promising ceiling after standing out for Alabama in college and his influence has steadily grown this season.

There could be even more to come from Smith in 2021, with the Vikings sure to be considering the possibility of trading or even releasing veteran Pro Bowler Kyle Rudolph to give themselves some much-needed breathing space regarding their salary cap.

Knowing what we know now, Smith would have been a tremendous pick here. The Panthers parted ways with Greg Olsen in free agency and Ian Thomas has disappointed in his pursuit of winning the role on a long-term basis.