Carolina Panthers 7-round 2023 NFL mock draft: Taking chances early

(Robert Goddin-USA TODAY Sports) Luke Schoonmaker
(Robert Goddin-USA TODAY Sports) Luke Schoonmaker /
3 of 8
Carolina Panthers
(Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports) Lukas Van Ness /

Carolina Panthers select Luka Van Ness

  • Defensive End/Outside Linebacker | Iowa Hawkeyes

The Carolina Panthers took a risk by not pursuing a replacement for Hasson Reddick. Outside of star Brian Burns, the No. 2 defensive end spot was a merry-go-round of pass rushers such as Marquis Haynes Sr., Yetur Gross-Matos, Henry Anderson, and rookie Amare Barno.

While these players might serve as good rotational players, they are not capable starters. This is why it is important the Panthers address the position this offseason through free agency or the 2023 NFL Draft.

In this mock draft, general manager Scott Fitterer goes out to get a future starting edge in Iowa’s Luka Van Ness, who is one of the better pass rushers in this draft class overall and has even been mocked in the late 20s from multiple outlets.

Van Ness is someone that could be the perfect centerpiece opposite Carolina’s star defensive end. Where Burns wins with mainly speed and finesse, Van Ness overcomes his opposition with power, explosiveness, and great functional strength.

The redshirt sophomore offers ample burst off the line of scrimmage that allows him to use his strength to overwhelm opposing tackles. Van Ness is also a former starter as a three-technique defensive lineman, which will make him valuable from a versatility standpoint.

The Hawkeyes product has more room to grow as a run defender. But Van Ness does have a high upside to be a capable starting piece on a gifted Panthers defensive front.