Could Zach Wilson be a franchise QB for the Carolina Panthers?

(Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports) Zach Wilson
(Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports) Zach Wilson /
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Carolina Panthers
(Rick Bowmer/Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports) Zach Wilson /

Should the Carolina Panthers draft Zach Wilson?

This will be the question on everyone’s lips in the lead-up to draft night. But it does appear as if the Carolina Panthers might be in a position to take Zach Wilson if they choose to go in this particular direction.

Barring a complete turnaround in their fortunes down the stretch, Carolina will be getting a top-10 pick once again. Wilson isn’t expected to go in the first five selections. But somewhere in the 6-15 region is a more realistic proposition unless a team falls in love with him enough to trade up.

Head coach Matt Rhule has a strong knowledge of the college system. But it’s hard to envisage this eventuality playing out when the Panthers have so many needs elsewhere.

They might need two tackles, a prolific pass-catching tight end, a cornerback who can cover man, a more consistent interior protector, a slot receiver, and a defensive tackle who can get after the quarterback from the three-technique.

That’s not including the doubts at safety, opposite Brian Burns at defensive end, and finding a long-term replacement for legendary linebacker Luke Kuechly.

Quarterback is the most important position on the field. But it’s not like Carolina has a scrub occupying the starting position in Teddy Bridgewater, who has done well in his first prolonged taste of starting action since 2015.

If they draft Wilson over someone like Patrick Surtain, Micah Parsons, Penei Sewell, or Kyle Pitts, it would be a massive surprise that would send shockwaves across the entire organization.