4 first-round mistakes that continue to haunt Carolina Panthers

Mistakes were made...

Ikem Ekwonu
Ikem Ekwonu / Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
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Carolina Panthers didn't trade up for Justin Herbert

One could pinpoint the Carolina Panthers' current problems back to their quarterback maneuvering when Matt Rhule became head coach. Despite saying plenty to the contrary, those in power opted to cut ties with iconic signal-caller Cam Newton after signing Teddy Bridgewater to a lucrative deal to prise him from the New Orleans Saints in free agency.

This sparked a series of events that eventually led to Carolina going for broke with Bryce Young at No. 1 overall in the 2023 NFL Draft. Had they gone down the college route during their first offseason with Rhule at the helm, they might not be in this mess.

According to multiple reports, some within the Panthers wanted those in power to consider going up for Justin Herbert. These requests were denied by Rhule, who thought he knew better.

The Panthers took Derrick Brown at No. 7 overall, which was an outstanding pick. He's one of the league's best defensive linemen and recently broke the NFL's single-season record for tackles by an interior presence. But in terms of positional importance, nothing should come before the quarterback spot.

If some of Carolina's front-office personnel had gotten their wish with Herbert, one could expect their fortunes to look much better right now. Of course, there's also a good chance Rhule would have completely mismanaged his development and he'd be a massive failure.

Hopefully, Young can bounce back with more stability. But again, the jury is still out on that one.