10 intriguing Carolina Panthers targets to watch at 2024 NFL Combine

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Carolina Panthers should monitor D.J. James

  • Cornerback | Auburn Tigers

The Carolina Panthers have an underrated need at the cornerback position. Jaycee Horn is a stud but unreliable on the health front. Donte Jackson might be a cap casualty with more than $10 million in savings attached to a post-June 1 release designation. Almost every other contributor in 2023 is out of contract and might not return.

D.J. James looks to have the right size and length to make an immediate impact. He's equally accomplished in press coverage or operating within a zone scheme. He'll be gone in the first 64 selections - it's whether the Panthers have enough wiggle room to ignore more pressing priorities.

Carolina Panthers should monitor Ladd McConkey

  • Wide Receiver | Georgia Bulldogs

Ladd McConkey is generating some significant momentum during the pre-draft assessment stage so far. Finding wide receivers that can create separation quickly is also among the Panthers' biggest needs in the hope quarterback Bryce Young can flourish in Year 2 of his professional career.

McConkey is an elite route-runner who can line up anywhere. He's sharp out of his cuts and makes difficult catches look easy. The Georgia prospect is also a threat to gain yards after the catch to further enhance his growing credentials. It would be a shock if he wasn't high on Carolina's shortlist heading into the NFL Scouting Combine.

Carolina Panthers should monitor Dallin Hooker

  • Tight End | Colorado State Rams

As previously mentioned, the Panthers need a more reliable tight end capable of providing Young with a security blanket across the middle and in the red zone. Those in power might stick with what they have, although that's a pretty big gamble to take considering how Tommy Tremble and Hayden Hurst performed last season.

Dallin Hooker could be a high-value selection a little further down the pecking order. A strong NFL Scouting Combine will help his cause enormously. For now, he's seen as a diamond in the rough - something the Panthers might be able to steal on Day 2 or early on Day 3 depending on how things unfold.