5 cornerbacks the Carolina Panthers could select in the 2023 NFL Draft

Emmanuel Forbes
Emmanuel Forbes / Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports
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Carolina Panthers
Cam Smith / Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

Carolina Panthers could draft Cam Smith

The Carolina Panthers turned a few heads during the 2021 NFL Draft when they ignored Justin Fields in favor of Jaycee Horn. A decision that shifted the franchise's course and ultimately led to their daring trade with the Chicago Bears for the No. 1 overall selection this year. 

Horn is an exceptional talent, so pairing him with an old college teammate could be a recipe for long-term success in the cornerback room. Whether Cam Smith will be available at No. 39 is the big question. 

Much like Horn, there's plenty to like about Smith's physical profile. He is a smooth mover in coverage and is always a composed presence no matter the standard of opposition. 

Another thing that stands out about Smith is his versatility. The cornerback has no trouble locking down speed receivers on the outside and also has enough physicality to work out of the slot with great effect. 

This makes Smith a superb fit within Ejiro Evero's creative 3-4 base scheme that could feature six defensive backs at any given time. Having a familiar face like Horn around could also smooth the player's transition, so the benefits are there for all to see. 

With little freedom or resources to make a daring move back into the first round, the Panthers will need to be patient. But if Smith does make it to No. 39 overall, it's an option well worth contemplating.