Re-grading the Carolina Panthers 2022 NFL Draft class after Year No. 1

(Photo by Eakin Howard/Getty Images) Brandon Smith
(Photo by Eakin Howard/Getty Images) Brandon Smith /
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Carolina Panthers
(Photo by Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images) Cade Mays /

Cade Mays – Carolina Panthers OL

  • No. 199 overall selection | Tennessee Volunteers

The Carolina Panthers got some major improvements from their offensive line in 2022. A combination of superior coaching, health, and impressive acquisitions saw this unit become one of the league’s biggest surprises, which is a solid foundation to build around moving forward.

While this was undoubtedly a positive, it left opportunities limited for Cade Mays. The sixth-round selection was acquired after displaying consistency and versatility in equal measure at Tennessee, but it’s hard to know what the Panthers have in the player right now.

Mays was used in specific jumbo packages and earned time on the offensive line interior when injuries occurred to Austin Corbett and Brady Christensen. The player was even used as a full-back within Carolina’s run-first scheme under Steve Wilks.

In total, Mays featured in just 51 snaps on offense, giving up one sack and earning a 62.6 grade from Pro Football Focus. But opportunity could knock early in 2023 depending on how Corbett recovers from his significant knee complication.

Draft Grade: C+

While the jury is still out regarding Mays’ chances of becoming a dominant NFL starter, there’s a lot to like about his prospects as a core depth piece. Something that will likely happen during the player’s sophomore campaign.