Panthers 7-round 2023 mock draft: Daring trade brings rewards

(Photo by Jay Biggerstaff/Getty Images) Jalen Carter
(Photo by Jay Biggerstaff/Getty Images) Jalen Carter /
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Carolina Panthers
(Kareem Elgazzar/Cincinnati Enquirer via USA TODAY NETWORK) Ivan Pace Jr. /

Carolina Panthers select Ivan Pace Jr.

  • Linebacker | Cincinnati

Another positional group that could be the subject of tremendous change next spring is linebacker. Nothing new since the days of Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis, who provided a sense of production and leadership that the Carolina Panthers have found almost impossible to replace.

Addressing this via the draft might become an even greater need given the uncertain statuses of Shaq Thompson, Damien Wilson, and Cory Littleton once the 2022 campaign concludes. It might take multiple picks to stabilize things, although acquiring a proven performer on the cheap in free agency would also help in the short term.

At this stage of the draft, anything is possible. Especially considering other pressing needs have been filled beforehand.

Ivan Pace Jr. is dominant on his day and can wreak havoc across the second level. He can play all three positions with minimal fuss, with his explosiveness, natural instincts, and ability to conjure up big plays in key moments sure to transition well once he gets to the next level.

Pace fits the mold of what previous Panthers linebackers are all about. Physical, committed, intelligent, and passionate – traits not many within the current group possess.

All four picks in the opening two rounds come with the athletic tools normally associated with Scott Fitterer selections. Something that could provide substantial assistance for any incoming head coach.