4 notable draft prospects being linked to the Panthers at No. 39 overall

Josh Downs
Josh Downs / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
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Carolina Panthers
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Carolina Panthers could draft Josh Downs

Sacrificing D.J. Moore as part of the trade that landed the No. 1 overall selection was a necessary evil. The wide receiver is one of the league's most underappreciated players at the position, but if this is the move that finally gets the Carolina Panthers their franchise presence under center, the compensation won't matter. 

Whether it works out or not has yet to be determined. However, the Panthers must surround their rookie signal-caller with everything he needs to be successful in 2023. 

That means adding to the wide receiver room as a matter of extreme urgency. Adam Thielen's arrival in free agency will help, but acquiring another dynamic weapon from the college ranks is another strong possibility - perhaps with the No. 39 pick if the right prospect is available. 

Josh Downs certainly fits the bill and is well-known to fans following a glittering spell with North Carolina. Something that's seen his draft stock soar over the last two seasons and deservedly so. 

Downs is a magician with a football in his hands. The route-running is crisp and even when Sam Howell departed for the NFL, the wideout still managed to go over 1,000 receiving yards and score 11 touchdowns thanks to Drake Maye's rise to prominence. 

Scott Fitterer is looking for a vertical downfield threat. Downs ticks every box thanks to his electrifying burst and straight-line speed that is a match for anyone.