3 critical draft needs for the Carolina Panthers in 2024

A new era is upon the Carolina Panthers, and filling some roster holes in the 2024 NFL Draft is going to be one of the most important parts.

Dan Morgan and Dave Canales
Dan Morgan and Dave Canales / Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
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Carolina Panthers need multiple new pass rushers in 2024

The 2024 NFL Draft is also deeper with edge rushers, which is a huge need for the Carolina Panthers. Along the defensive front, the team has a whopping nine free agents. Most notably, both Brian Burns and Yetur Gross-Matos are set to hit the open market.

Back in September, ESPN's Jeremy Fowler had this to say about Burns and what was then contract negotiations with the team:

"They’ve been talkin’ for months. They are not at all close on a deal. He’s gonna play games. But, yeah, frustration could boil over a little bit here eventually. This is an elite player."

Jeremy Fowler via USA Today Sports

From the start, the Carolina Panthers have mishandled the situation with Burns, one of the 10-best pass rushers in the NFL. Even with a new regime in town, he might jump on the first bus out of Carolina. A notion that seems out of the question, even if that means using the franchise tag.

Burns will stay in some capacity unless he's tagged and traded. But getting better up front is a must. One of the best things that happened during this brief offseason period for Carolina is defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero returning for 2024.

Evero is a defensive mastermind. That doesn't mean the Panthers can just rely on the scheme alone. The team needs to prioritize adding a body or two to bolster their pass rush.

Edge rusher is one of the positions in the NFL that can't consistently be filled in free agency. It's a cornerstone, foundational piece, so teams that have elite pass rushers typically always re-sign them.

The Panthers should embrace this with Burns, but again, he needs help. Players who could realistically be there for Carolina at any point in the draft include Brandon Dorlus from Oregon, Chris Braswell from Alabama, Bralen Trice from Washington, and Darius Robinson from Missouri, among a few others.

I don't think the Panthers need to overthink this. Their needs are clear as day, and the NFL Draft is where teams become elite. For Dan Morgan and Dave Canales, there is no use in trying to get cute or reinventing the wheel with roster-building.