6 NFC South rival 2022 draft picks the Carolina Panthers should fear

(Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports) Chris Olave
(Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports) Chris Olave /
1 of 6
Carolina Panthers
(Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports) Ikem Ekwonu /

Which draft picks made by other NFC South teams should strike fear into the Carolina Panthers if they reach or exceed expectations moving forward?

The Carolina Panthers made a lot out of very little during the 2022 NFL Draft. Influential decision-makers within the organization played their board well, addressing two crucial needs early on before banking on high athletic traits turning into NFL consistency over time with their later selections.

This was another step in the right direction for Carolina. Whether it’s enough to make waves in the NFC South when competitive action begins is another matter entirely.

It was an eventful draft from the Panthers‘ divisional rivals, who made some bold moves of their own in pursuit of or holding onto the title and a playoff spot in 2022.

With this in mind, here are six draft prospects picked by NFC South teams that should strike fear into Carolina next season and beyond.

Prospect No. 1

Carolina Panthers
(Calvin Mattheis/The Knoxville News-Sentinel via IMAGN Content Services) Alontae Taylor /

839. . DB. Volunteers . ALONTAE TAYLOR. 49. player

Carolina Panthers should fear Alontae Taylor

Although the New Orleans Saints secured the signing of Tyrann Mathieu soon after the draft, taking Alontae Taylor so high indicates that the organization has some high hopes for the Tennessee product. His athleticism and ball-hawking abilities are absolutely off the charts on the backend, so this is a threat the Carolina Panthers need to factor into their offensive gameplan.

Taylor has exceptional closing speed, a solid awareness in coverage, and has no trouble coming down to the second level in pursuit of increasing his influence on running downs.

There is even the temptation to utilize Taylor as a cornerback given his skill set. This is where New Orleans might need more immediate help given that Marcus Maye also joined in free agency.