Carolina Panthers 2022 NFL mock draft with major first-round trade
Carolina Panthers pick No. 73: Nolan Smith – DE/OLB (Georgia)
No NFL team can ever have enough pass rushers. The Carolina Panthers have an abundance of weapons currently at their disposal and it’s clear they’re in a ruthless mood to make a difference if their Week 1 showing against the New York Jets was any indication.
That being said, the likes of Haason Reddick and Marquis Haynes are both out of contract next spring. Considering Brian Burns is set for a megabucks contract sooner rather than later, keeping both around appears unrealistic at this juncture.
Acquiring someone like Nolan Smith could be a shrewd bit of business at this stage of the draft. His influence has steadily risen at Georgia and the former No. 2 ranked high school player nationally has plenty of exciting athletic attributes that normally become a hot commodity during the evaluation process.
If there was one knock on Smith, it’s that he needs to finish off plays a little better. But the prospect is tough as they come and providing he bulks up in readiness for the NFL, someone will be getting a fantastic player over the draft weekend.
Providing Smith can be coached up – which is a distinct possibility – then a rotational role right out of the gate is well within his capabilities. Something the Panthers might need if Reddick or Haynes depart.