4 rough diamonds the Carolina Panthers could draft in 2023
By Dean Jones
Carolina Panthers could draft Viliami Fehoko Jr.
- Defensive End/Outside Linebacker | San Jose State Spartans
Acquiring another pass-rushing presence with upside might not be the need it once was after the early stages of free agency. But the Carolina Panthers cannot ignore strengthening this critical area of play completely.
Much will depend on Amare Barno's development and where the Panthers plan to deploy Frankie Luvu, but Brian Burns needs help getting after the quarterback. Something the team could accomplish by picking one an edge presence from the college ranks.
While this represents a risk, the benefits are there for all to see. Viliami Fehoko Jr. did his draft stock no end of good at San Jose State in 2022, emerging as one of college football's most productive disruptors with 12 sacks and 59 total pressures as a result of his exceptional efforts.
Fehoko needs to add muscle mass and refine his pass-rushing repertoire to get the better of NFL-caliber offensive linemen, but nobody works harder on their craft. This could be a dark horse option for the Panthers if they decide to fill other needs first.
One thing that Fehoko isn't lacking is commitment. His engine is astonishing and this is coupled with eye-catching athleticism that saw him emerge as one of the best defensive ends at the NFL Scouting Combine from a testing perspective.
It's still unknown where Fehoko will be taken. Some have him as a third-round selection, while other analysts project him in the fourth or even fifth round.