Carolina Panthers 2022 NFL mock draft with major first-round trade

(Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports) Dorian Thompson-Robinson
(Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports) Dorian Thompson-Robinson /
6 of 11
Carolina Panthers
(Melina Myers-USA TODAY Sports) Amari Gainer /

AMARIGAINER. 104. Pick Analysis. LB. FLORIDA STATE. player. 804. Scouting Report

Carolina Panthers pick No. 104: Amari Gainer – LB (Florida State)

There was plenty of speculation regarding Amari Gainer and whether he would declare for the 2021 NFL Draft or not. The linebacker decided to go back for another season at Florida State and has already made a telling contribution over the first two games of the campaign.

Gainer plays the game with an enthusiasm that’s hard not to love. His football instincts are already where they need to be, even if his positional sense needs a little refinement once he gets to the next level.

The Carolina Panthers have some questions to answer within their linebacking corps next spring. Jermaine Carter and Haason Reddick are out of contract next spring and there is also the small matter of Shaq Thompson’s huge pay increase and potential release to consider.

All signs point to the second level being an area of need for the Panthers in 2022. Especially considering they didn’t really address this issue long-term during the recent draft.

Gainer could be a work in progress initially. But his physical skills are there for all to see.

Providing Carolina keeps one or two of their current starters, then it could see the prospect come in on a rotational basis before assuming a starting position somewhere down the line with a little more refinement.