5 potentially grave errors made by the Carolina Panthers this offseason

(Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports) Justin Fields
(Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports) Justin Fields /
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Carolina Panthers
(Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports) Trey Smith /

Carolina Panthers drafted a long-snapper over Trey Smith

The situation surrounding Thomas Fletcher was a bizarre one. He was expecting a call for an undrafted free-agent offer from the Carolina Panthers before finding out he was their sixth-round selection, only for his hopes of a starting berth to end with a season-ending IR designation on the day of final cuts.

One suspects Fletcher wouldn’t have been preferred to J.J. Jansen anyway. And this leaves their decision to go against the grain rather than take someone with more upside in Trey Smith all the more concerning.

Smith was a steep faller in the draft due to injury concerns. He was projected to go anywhere in rounds 2-3 by most analysts, but he somehow fell into the Kansas City Chiefs‘ laps at No. 226 overall.

The Panthers did take interior lineman Deonte Brown earlier in the round and probably see Brady Christensen as a guard despite his production at left tackle in college. Still, their offensive line depth cannot be described as stellar and Smith already looks to be a sensational steal judging by his contribution throughout the offseason.

Whether the Panthers were getting too cute when it came to taking Fletcher is anybody’s guess. But the simple fact is there was plenty of meat on the bone later in the draft that would have been better alternatives.

Smith was at the top of the list. And he’ll most likely be a Day 1 starter on the defending AFC champions.