5 non-quarterback draft prospects the Panthers should target in 2023

(Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images) Darnell Washington
(Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images) Darnell Washington /
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(Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports) Trenton Simpson /

Carolina Panthers should target Trenton Simpson

  • Linebacker | Clemson

Much has been made about the Carolina Panthers never selecting a player from Clemson despite the close proximity between the two. It’s probably a coincidence more than anything else, but there are a few prospects of significant intrigue emerging from the program in 2023 that warrant consideration.

Perhaps the best of the bunch is Trenton Simpson. And it just so happens that the middle linebacker spot needs an injection of youthful energy as the Panthers continue to search for their long-term successor to Luke Kuechly.

Simpson is an athletic force that impacts proceedings in all facets of play. His heavy hitting and burst play a leading role against the run, with the prospect also boasting enough fluidity to assist in coverage when needed.

The pass-rushing numbers haven’t come on as many had hoped in 2022. However, there is far more good than bad where Simpson is concerned and he looks like a lock to be a first-round pick when it’s all said and done.

Just where Simpson will end up being taken is the big question. Some projections have him going in the top 10 while others have the second-level defender as a late first-rounder – so it’s hard to gauge one way or another.

If he starts sliding, then it might be worth the Panthers exploring trade-up possibilities once a franchise quarterback is secured.