3 position groups Carolina Panthers could target first in the 2024 NFL Draft

The Carolina Panthers have some options with their first pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.

Xavier Worthy
Xavier Worthy / Sara Diggins/American-Statesman / USA
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Carolina Panthers could strengthen the OL

Rookie quarterback Bryce Young has played in 12 games for the Carolina Panthers in 2023. He has been sacked 48 times.

That's an average of four times per game, which is simply unsustainable in the NFL. When you consider that Young is the size of a slot cornerback, the Panthers must keep him out of harm's way moving forward.

They could do that by replacing Ikem Ekwonu at left tackle and perhaps kicking him to the interior to save some value there. If that is their plan going into the 2024 NFL Draft, acquiring a young left tackle should be at the top of their to-do list.

Looking at Pro Football Focus' big board for tackles, guys like Amarius Mims, Graham Barton, Troy Fautanu, Jordan Morgan, and Patrick Paul are all realistic targets at the top of the second round. But some might end up going to a contending team at the end of the first depending on how their respective evaluation processes unfold.

Unfortunately for the Panthers, solving the left tackle problem isn't going to come in free agency. Top-shelf blindside protectors don't hit the open market. Terron Armstead did two offseasons ago, but he's been injury-prone his entire career, and that hasn't changed with the Miami Dolphins.

A solution I recently proposed was signing someone like Trent Brown for a year and drafting Morgan from Arizona. That has potential benefits in the short and long term depending on how a new coaching staff sees Ekwonu's future.

I think establishing a clear plan at at left tackle and not banking on a player without past success is a bad idea. Someone like Brown has established himself as a fine tackle in the NFL. Pairing him with a rookie draft pick gives the Panthers a plan for this crucial position.