Carolina Panthers 7-round 2023 NFL mock draft: Strike it lucky edition

(Brianna Paciorka/The Knoxville News-Sentinel via IMAGN Content Services) Byron Young
(Brianna Paciorka/The Knoxville News-Sentinel via IMAGN Content Services) Byron Young /
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Carolina Panthers
(Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports) Cade Stover /

Carolina Panthers select Cade Stover

  • Tight End | Ohio State Buckeyes

One glaring area of improvement on offense is upgrading the pass-catching options at the tight end position. Ian Thomas is emerging into an elite edge blocker, but there’s not enough consistency across the middle for the Carolina Panthers to count on under a new regime.

Whether this becomes a need to address earlier in the draft or through free agency is yet to be determined. But if the Panthers draft C.J. Stroud, then bringing in one of his favorite weapons at Ohio State would be prudent.

There is nothing spectacular about Cade Stover. But his natural soft hands, ability to get open frequently, and strength in red zone situations make him an intriguing player at this stage of the draft.

Stover originally started as a linebacker before switching to the offensive side of things. It took a substantial amount of adjustment, but his hard work paid off in spades this season and earned Stroud’s trust in key moments throughout the campaign.

With 36 receptions for 406 receiving yards and five touchdowns for the Buckeyes this season, the upward trend is evident. His work as a blocker at the second level also catches the eye and the prospect’s strength allows him to emerge with the upper hand in contested catch situations to further enhance Stover’s overall influence.

Stover will need further coaching upon arriving at the next level given his lack of experience. But it would be a surprise if the player didn’t blossom further in the not-too-distant future.

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