Panthers 7-round 2023 mock draft: Life after Christian McCaffrey

(Saul Young/The Knoxville News-Sentinel via IMAGN Content Services) Jalin Hyatt
(Saul Young/The Knoxville News-Sentinel via IMAGN Content Services) Jalin Hyatt /
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Which way could the Carolina Panthers go with their 2023 NFL Draft selections as they prepare to move forward without running back Christian McCaffrey?

It was a dramatic period leading up to the 2022 trade deadline for the Carolina Panthers. Matt Rhule was fired, Robbie Anderson and Christian McCaffrey were traded, with many other established stars also the subject of interest from across the league to further raise concerns.

The Panthers opted to keep their young core intact. This decreases their needs in free agency and the draft next year, which also makes Carolina a more attractive destination for any incoming head coach if Steve Wilks doesn’t do enough to win the job long-term.

Moving McCaffrey, who became the face of the franchise after Cam Newton’s departure, was a difficult decision. But in truth, the deal secured represented a win-win for all parties.

For the Panthers, it got them substantial draft capital to utilize next spring. And for McCaffrey, he lands on a contender in the San Francisco 49ers and already looks like he’s going to be a real difference-maker within Kyle Shanahan’s expansive scheme.

Although the Panthers’ options have increased exponentially following their recent moves, it will count for nothing if they don’t bring the right reinforcements from the college ranks. Rhule left an almighty mess behind, but there is enough to provide hope for the future with a strong upcoming offseason.

Using the Pro Football Network machine, we took a look at which way Carolina could go with their eight selections in our latest seven-round 2023 NFL mock draft.