Panthers 7-round 2023 mock draft: Addressing needs and taking risks

(Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports) Hendon Hooker
(Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports) Hendon Hooker /
3 of 7
Carolina Panthers
(Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports) Siaki Ika /

Carolina Panthers select Siaki Ika

  • Defensive Tackle | Baylor

Drafting players from Baylor will be met with skepticism by Carolina Panthers fans given the obvious association with Matt Rhule. The head coach has relied heavily on his old college guys since taking over from Ron Rivera, which brought mixed success at best en route to just 10 wins from his first two seasons.

One glaring problem surrounding the Panthers in Week 1 was their inability to stop the run. This was a concern coming into the campaign and Nick Chubb’s complete dominance at Bank of America Stadium only highlighted the issue further.

If this complication continues throughout 2022, then strengthening the defensive line with a true run stuffer will be among the team’s biggest priorities. Siaki Ika certainly fits the bill in that regard and has no previous connection to Rhule after transferring from LSU in time for the 2021 season.

Ika’s size and strength are formidable obstacles to overcome. The interior lineman is incredibly difficult to move off the block, boasting more than enough short-area quickness to disrupt at will.

While the prospect’s tackling needs a little work, Ika has the tools necessary to become a game-wrecker with additional refinement. Something the Panthers will be craving if players such as Derrick Brown, Matt Ioannidis, Yetur Gross-Matos, and Bravvion Roy don’t improve.