5 early prospects Carolina Panthers should watch for the 2025 NFL Draft

The scouting has already begun for the 2025 NFL Draft.
Travis Hunter
Travis Hunter / Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
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Carolina Panthers should monitor James Pearce Jr.

  • Edge Rusher | Tennessee Volunteers

The Carolina Panthers will need to find a long-term replacement for Brian Burns during the 2025 NFL Draft. Jadeveon Clowney and D.J. Wonnum should provide short-term relief after Dan Morgan traded his most explosive edge rusher to the New York Giants, but this merely papers over the cracks in the grand scheme of things.

Carolina isn't blessed with the greatest depth from a pass-rushing standpoint unless someone rises from obscurity to become impactful. If Bryce Young demonstrates improvement in Year 2 of his professional career, this could be the team's biggest need next offseason.

Someone like James Pearce Jr. looks like a solution to this ongoing complication. The Tennessee prospect came of age in 2023 en route to 10 sacks and 14.5 tackles for loss. He's just scratching the surface of what could be in the offing moving forward, which is a scary proposition and one that looks set to take college football by storm in 2024.

Pearce has everything. He's explosive, displaying eye-popping closing speed and athleticism. The player's spin move is elite and the short-area agility allows him to bend the edge with minimal fuss. Once he refines his technique with more experience, it would be a big surprise if he wasn't among the first prospects taken next spring.

Carolina Panthers should monitor Travis Hunter

  • Wide Receiver/Cornerback | Colorado Buffaloes

There won't be many more unique prospects emerging from the college ranks in 2025 than Travis Hunter. One of the most dynamic athletes anywhere in college football will be watched closely by NFL scouts in the coming months en route to potentially being a high-end selection next year.

Hunter is a unicorn. Colorado head coach Deion Sanders plays him both ways at wide receiver and cornerback. He'll probably have to settle at one spot when joining the pro ranks, but having this sort of skill set is going to serve him well nonetheless.

It's hard to decipher where Hunter is best suited, he's that good at both. The Carolina Panthers - if they showed an interest - would possibly use him at the cornerback position opposite Jaycee Horn. His quick feet, ability to track the football downfield, exceptional route anticipation, and ball skills could see him thrive as a defensive back at the next level.

Learning from the greatest cornerback to ever suit up in Sanders has helped enormously. Hunter looks set for superstardom providing he doesn't endure any injury complications, but adding extra muscle mass and improving his footwork would be wise in the coming months.