Carolina Panthers select gifted CB in early 2023 NFL mock draft

(Joshua L. Jones/ Online Athens via IMAGN Content Services) Kelee Ringo
(Joshua L. Jones/ Online Athens via IMAGN Content Services) Kelee Ringo /

The Carolina Panthers select yet another talented cornerback in an early 2023 NFL mock draft following the Baker Mayfield trade. 

Much has been made about the Carolina Panthers making another bold quarterback trade to bring Baker Mayfield on board from the Cleveland Browns. Whether this pays off or not is another matter, but it provides them with a better chance of winning in 2022 and takes any early pressure off third-round selection Matt Corral in the process.

The Panthers remain confident that Corral has what it takes to become their long-term starter under center. However, if Mayfield performs well and Carolina attains an encouraging record, then it could see the organization provide the Oklahoma product with a new deal.

There is a lot of football to come between now and then, obviously. Mayfield’s chances are hanging in the balance and the development of Corral will also be something to monitor closely throughout training camp and the regular season.

What transpires in the coming months will have some serious ramifications. It might also see the Panthers go into the 2023 NFL Draft with a different approach if they feel set at the most important position on the field.

Carolina Panthers select Kelee Ringo in early 2023 NFL mock draft

Seth Trachtman from produced a full first-round 2023 mock draft in the immediate aftermath of Mayfield’s trade. Instead of delving into a rich pool of signal-callers at No. 6 overall, the writer had Carolina taking Kelee Ringo, a stud cornerback from Georgia who was nothing short of exceptional during their national championship triumph last season.

"Ringo was a key face on the backend of Georgia’s defense last season, with two picks. He’d give the Panthers another strong press corner for what’s quickly becoming one of the most talented secondaries in football."

To say this would be a surprise is an understatement. The Panthers invested heavily in their cornerback options over the last few seasons, with Donte Jackson getting a new deal and the likes of Jaycee Horn, Keith Taylor Jr., and C.J. Henderson arriving to further strengthen the ranks.

If the aforementioned quartet performs as expected in 2022, then it has the scope to become one of the team’s biggest strengths. Having new defensive backs coach Steve Wilks leading this group only heightens expectations.

This is not a knock on Ringo by any means. He looks set to be the best cornerback entering the NFL next season and appears to be well worth a top-10 selection providing things go as anticipated with the Bulldogs during their title defense.

Ringo is a physical hitter that excels in press coverage. His size and ability to manipulate wide receivers from their routes will be a tremendous asset at the next level, so this is a prospect that will be a hot commodity during his pre-draft evaluation process.

Coupling Ringo with Horn and Jackson is a tempting proposition. But looking at Carolina’s depth chart as it stands, there could be far greater needs at defensive end, defensive tackle, and middle linebacker that should take priority if the Panthers feel like Corral’s shown enough for a starting berth.

Mock drafts are just shots in the dark at this time of year. But with the college football season fast approaching, it won’t take long for exceptional prospects to come to the fore.

As for the Panthers, who knows what their fortunes will be in 2022.

Carolina Panthers full 7-round 2023 mock draft if Baker Mayfield earns new deal. light. Must Read