Panthers 7-round 2023 NFL mock draft: Bringing sexy back edition

(Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports) Darnell Washington
(Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports) Darnell Washington /
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Carolina Panthers
(Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports) Owen Pappoe /

Carolina Panthers draft Owen Pappoe

  • Linebacker | Auburn Tigers

There are some significant questions for the Carolina Panthers to answer across their linebacking corps before the 2023 season arrives. Switching to a 3-4 base scheme means more is needed on the interior, especially considering the futures of Cory Littleton, Damien Wilson, and Shaq Thompson are up in the air currently.

If Jeremy Chinn moves closer to the line of scrimmage, the need becomes less urgent. But judging by his production at Auburn and an unbelievable NFL Scouting Combine performance, Owen Pappoe looks like a superb scheme fit and one that can provide immediate help.

Pappoe is the definition of a dynamic player. His straight-line speed is phenomenal, the power is right on point with his physique, and every eye-popping testing score comes across on his film.

While Pappoe never quite hit the heights expected of a five-star high school recruit, it’s a risk worth taking. Something the Panthers did last year around this stage of the 2022 NFL Draft with Brandon Smith, who could flourish with improved coaches in readiness for the upcoming campaign.

Carolina could do far worse than draft Pappoe at this stage – especially if they examine what the player could be rather than his college production. Whether he’ll be available on Day 3 after such blistering numbers in Indianapolis is anyone’s guess.