Panthers 7-round 2023 NFL mock draft: Post-Senior Bowl edition

(Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images) Jayden Reed
(Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images) Jayden Reed /
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Carolina Panthers
(Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports) Will McDonald IV /

Carolina Panthers select Will McDonald IV

  • Defensive End | Iowa State Cyclones

After giving up valuable capital for the chance to draft C.J. Stroud, general manager Scott Fitterer might look to recoup some picks by trading down. The front office figure has a keen eye for draft board development, proving he can strike with conviction when opportunities arise.

In this mock draft, the Panthers trade down from No. 39 overall for two additional selections. They also managed to bolster their pass-rushing options for good measure.

Finding consistency opposite Brian Burns was an issue for the Panthers last season. Haason Reddick was missed terribly and Will McDonald IV certainly has enough in his locker to play a significant role on the defensive line rotation immediately.

McDonald’s college production was solid and his athleticism is absolutely off the charts for a man his size. This is matched by a high motor and natural instincts that allow the edge presence to locate the football and reach the point of attack with minimal fuss.

Another area where McDonald also thrives is against the run. His lower body power allows him to set the edge and the Iowa State product has the technical skills to get off blocks in pursuit of oncoming runners.

Providing McDonald progresses with his discipline at the line of scrimmage, this is well worth considering from the Panthers’ perspective. And his standout week at the 2023 Senior Bowl did nothing to hurt the player’s stock.