Panthers full 7-round 2023 mock draft if Baker Mayfield earns new deal

(Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports) Baker Mayfield
(Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports) Baker Mayfield /
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Carolina Panthers
(Joshua L. Jones/Online Athens via IMAGN Content Services) Nolan Smith /

Carolina Panthers select Nolan Smith

  • Defensive End/Outside Linebacker | Georgia

Obviously, this could be an outstanding group of quarterbacks in 2023 if most meet specific targets when the college football campaign gets underway. But if the Carolina Panthers decided that Baker Mayfield has done enough for an extended stay, it allows them to focus on other areas.

One potential concern heading into 2022 is generating pressure. The Panthers let Haason Reddick leave in free agency and if Marquis Haynes and Yetur Gross-Matos cannot make strides forward, then this will be a top priority next year.

Nolan Smith could be the answer providing the talented defender makes further improvements over his final season at Georgia. The explosive talent played a leading role in the Bulldogs clinching the national championship in a dominant fashion and has the intangibles to become a three-down presence capable of impacting all areas of play.

Smith is fast and exceptional at getting off the block. This is matched by ferocious tackling and a surprising ability to hold his own in coverage, so there is a lot to like about his potential at the next level.

Putting Smith opposite Brian Burns gives the Panthers a dominant tandem capable of wreaking havoc on opposing offensive lines. But another eye-catching campaign could see him go higher than this when it’s all said and done.