4 NFL Draft prospects the Carolina Panthers hope fall out of the first round

It's a waiting game for Dan Morgan...
Adonai Mitchell
Adonai Mitchell / Jay Janner / American-Statesman / USA
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Carolina Panthers must hope Nate Wiggins falls

  • Cornerback | Clemson Tigers

The Carolina Panthers need another capable cornerback at some stage during the 2024 NFL Draft. Ejiro Evero cannot go into the upcoming campaign with the options already available. This is arguably the team's biggest remaining need despite obvious holes elsewhere.

Jaycee Horn is an outstanding performer when healthy. Those instances have been few and far between over the first three years of his professional career. It would be nothing short of catastrophic if the Panthers lost the former first-round pick out of South Carolina for any prolonged run of games in 2024.

The Panthers have high on Dane Jackson following his free-agent arrival. Troy Hill re-signed to provide veteran cover, but much more is needed to avoid his group becoming a weak link. Identifying a high-quality performer from the college ranks who could start immediately early in the draft represents a smart course of action.

Nate Wiggins is one of the best cornerbacks entering the draft this year. The former Clemson standout is a remarkable presence in coverage, boasting fluid movements and quick-twitch anticipation to jump routes with relative comfort. This is matched by outstanding ball skills and exceptional top-end speed to further raise intrigue.

Once Wiggins improves his backpedal efficiency and adds a little more muscle mass to his frame before going up against NFL-caliber wideouts, someone is going to be a productive layer on their hands immediately. Much like the situation with Graham Barton, it seems unlikely that the defensive back will fall out of the first round. But this is the NFL Draft, where expecting the unexpected is commonplace.

Wiggins would be a tough proposition to turn down if the Panthers had the chance to take him at No. 33. This would also break the long-running streak of Carolina never selecting a prospect from Clemson despite the proximity between the two.

Whether he makes it this far down the pecking order remains to be seen, but it seems like a small dunk if Wiggins is there for the taking.