Panthers trade up for Zach Wilson in 7-round mock NFL Draft

(George Frey/Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports) Zach Wilson
(George Frey/Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports) Zach Wilson /
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Carolina Panthers
(Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images) Tre’ McKitty /

Round 6 (Pick No. 195)

Tre’ McKitty – TE (Georgia)

The Carolina Panthers got a good look at Tre’ McKitty at the 2021 Senior Bowl, where the tight end turned on the style with an ability in the passing game that was sorely lacking within Joe Brady’s offense this season. He is impressive from a physical standpoint and should be able to thrive with so much in the way of talent around him.

Carolina might need a lot from any potential new tight end following the disappointing performance of Ian Thomas after Greg Olsen left in free agency. But McKitty looks more than capable of rising to the challenge and is a high-value pick at this stage of the draft.

Round 6 (Pick No. 223)

Damonte Coxie – WR (Memphis)

Curtis Samuel might be off to pastures new this offseason after the wide receiver turned in a standout 2020 campaign in a contract year. The Carolina Panthers are probably all-too-aware of this and need to find additional help to compensate for the former Ohio State star’s potential departure.

Damonte Coxie doesn’t have the breakaway speed and agility of Samuel, but he offers something a little bit different from what Carolina already has. The Memphis standout is a huge physical presence who can make a real difference on intermediate routes and in red-zone situations, which could see some early opportunities come his way.

Coxie broke off back-to-back 1,000-yard receiving campaigns in 2018 and 2019, which also came with 16 touchdowns. But he played just twice in 2020.

Round 7 (Pick No. 248)

LaBryan Ray – DE (Alabama)

It seems odd that LaBryan Ray – a National Championship winner at Alabama – would go so late in the draft. However, if the versatile defensive lineman is available here then the Carolina Panthers could do far worse than selecting him.

There are some substantial injury worries where Ray is concerned. The prospect has dealt with various issues over his four years with the Crimson Tide and much will depend on what sort of impression he makes at Alabama’s pro day in regards to just where he’ll end up going over the crucial draft weekend.

Ray’s talent is undisputed. But the difficulties of staying healthy are an extreme red flag in no uncertain terms.