Panthers 7-round 2023 NFL mock draft: Blockbuster trade edition

(Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports) Cedric Tillman
(Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports) Cedric Tillman /
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Carolina Panthers
(Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports) K.J. Henry /

Carolina Panthers select K.J. Henry

  • Defensive End/Outside Linebacker | Clemson Tigers

I’m not entirely sure what the Carolina Panthers will do at 3-4 outside linebacker and at the five-technique role in Ejiro Evero’s defense. From the looks of it, they might have their starting duo secured with Brian Burns and Frankie Luvu.

I do believe that Evero could use a versatile chess piece along the front seven that can play as either a stand-up rusher or with his hand in the dirt as a five-tech or 3-4 defensive end. That player could be K.J. Henry.

In the young history of the Panthers, the franchise has never selected a player from the Clemson Tigers program. Your guess is as good as mine as to why that isn’t the case, but that could change this year.

Henry was a critical part of Clemson’s defense this year. While the box score may not indicate him as a productive pass rusher, the former top-10 overall high school recruit showed the ability to get to the quarterback consistently. He offers great length, heavy and active hands, a fantastic motor, and the ability to get off blocks at a high clip.

Do I think Henry is going to be an All-Pro pass rusher? I don’t. Though, I see him being a very reliable chess piece in a rotational role early in his career.

I think Carolina and Evero would appreciate what the former Tiger brings to the table.