There is much at stake for the Carolina Panthers during the 2022 NFL Draft. Keep up to date with all the news, picks, and analysis in our live tracker.
The Carolina Panthers are bracing themselves for a very important few days relating to their chances next season. The 2022 NFL Draft is likely to be extremely unpredictable – especially in the first round – which means the likes of general manager Scott Fitterer have to be ready for anything in pursuit of bringing the right pieces to the organization.
Carolina isn’t blessed with much capital to achieve its objectives. There are also some positions in dire need of upgrading that could impact the decision-making process when push comes to shove.
The Panthers have left no stone unturned during their assessments. Something that should stand them in good stead, but there is absolutely no telling for sure which route they’ll eventually pursue with every option seemingly on the table.
It promises to be an intriguing three days, to put it mildly. Keep up to date with all the picks and analysis in this special draft tracker.
How many picks do the Carolina Panthers have in the 2022 NFL Draft?
The Panthers have just six draft picks currently and no second or third-rounders to speak of following trades for Sam Darnold and C.J. Henderson last year. Not ideal, but something that could change with any trade activity that transpires.
- Round No. 1 (Pick No. 6)
- Round No. 4 (Pick No. 137)
- Round No. 5 (Pick No. 144)
- Round No. 5 (Pick No. 149)
- Round No. 6 (Pick No. 199)
- Round No. 7 (Pick No. 242)
What needs do the Carolina Panthers possess in the 2022 NFL Draft?
Carolina has a number of needs – some more pressing than others.
- Left Tackle
- Defensive End
- Defensive Tackle
Carolina Panthers 2022 NFL Draft picks
Carolina Panthers 2022 NFL Draft picks – analysis
Ikem Ekwonu – Carolina Panthers OT
Things could not have played out much better for the Panthers over the first five selections. Each team went with defensive picks, leaving Carolina with the pick of the offensive tackles on the board.
This was a hugely popular selection and according to Ian Rappaport of the NFL Network, Ikem Ekwonu was the best player on their draft board. He is the premier left tackle Carolina’s been searching for since Jordan Gross retired and his unrivaled violence on running downs makes him a fantastic fit in Ben McAdoo’s system.
Ekwonu is an instant problem-solver. If he reaches his potential, then he is more than capable of filling the blindside spot for the next decade.
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Matt Corral – Carolina Panthers QB
After a very long wait, the Panthers took the plunge and brought Matt Corral to the organization. This represents a low-risk, high-reward move given how far the signal-caller slid on Day 2, which cost Carolina the No. 137 overall selection and a third-rounder next year to bring him on board.
Corral has proven SEC production and looks like a tremendous scheme fit under Ben McAdoo. It might take some time to adjust to life at the next level, but the player is a strong character that will also bring exceptional leadership to the locker room.
If it doesn’t work out, so what? The Panthers can get another prospect from a much stronger class in 2023.
Brandon Smith – Carolina Panthers LB
Finding assistance at the linebacker position is something the Panthers sought early with another trade-up on Day 3. The organization wasted little time in moving up the board once again to select Brandon Smith, who comes from a long line of athletic Penn State defenders that they’ve taken advantage of before with Yetur Gross-Matos.
Smith is a ferocious run defender who has all the size, physicality, and explosiveness to make a real difference. He can play anywhere across the second level and if his tackling can be brushed up, this is a prospect that could become an instant contributor.
Carolina now has a contingency plan in the event things turn sour with Damien Wilson following his recent arrest.
Amare Barno – Carolina Panthers DE/OLB
The Panthers needed to get their hands on another pass-rushing option after losing Haason Reddick to the Philadelphia Eagles. Amare Barno was the choice at No. 189 overall, he is explosive beyond measure and ran a phenomenal 40-yard dash time at the NFL Scouting Combine during an exceptional display of his athletic traits.
Barno is definitely a work in progress. But the Virginia Tech product has the length and leverage to really trouble opponents when in the mood.
There is a rawness to Barno’s play that will stand some time to develop. However, it’s another high-end Relative Athletic Score prospect for the Panthers, something that is becoming an ongoing trend.
Cade Mays – Carolina Panthers OL
Adding to the offensive line options wasn’t exactly a bad decision by any stretch later in the draft. In Cade Mays, the Panthers have a ruthless finisher that demonstrates a high level of consistency on running downs, which is exactly what Carolina needs under Ben McAdoo.
Mays fits exactly what the Panthers look for in their offensive linemen. He is long, athletic, and strong in equal measure – so there is a real chance for him to build on some impressive physical traits under the guidance of James Campen.
Providing Mays can make his feet a little quicker, this is sure to be another pick with value attached.
Kalon Barnes – Carolina Panthers DB
What’s a Panthers draft without Rhule going back to a familiar face.
Kalon Barnes worked with the head coach during their time together at Baylor. Although cornerback is not exactly a position of need for Carolina, the defensive back has elite speed and can operate well in coverage.
Barnes needs to improve his on-field awareness in the NFL. But nobody will know how to maximize his skill set better than Rhule.