5 greatest Carolina Panthers positions of need before 2024 NFL Draft

As the NFL Draft looms, the Carolina Panthers' depth chart has several holes that need addressing.
Tommy Tremble
Tommy Tremble / Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
3 of 5

Carolina Panthers need WR help

  • Currently rostered: Jalen Camp, Diontae Johnson, Terrace Marshall Jr., Jonathan Mingo, David Moore, Cam Sims, Ihmir Smith-Marsette, Mike Strachan, Adam Thielen.

Bryce Young's rookie season could have been better, but it was unfair to properly judge his play given the poor performances by the offensive line and wide receivers around him. The Carolina Panthers (mostly) fixed the protection in free agency, but the wideout corps remains a top concern before the 2024 season.

Adam Thielen emerged as a security blanket for Young, bringing in 26 percent of the team's targets and leading Panthers receivers in yards and red zone looks. At 33 years old, he lacked the explosiveness to break open for big plays, a burden that should not have fallen solely on him. Nobody else stepped up and there was a notable lack of ability to create separation.

The addition of Diontae Johnson could fix that. The former Pro Bowler gives the team a speedy option who could hopefully stretch opposing cornerbacks in a way nobody from 2023 could, but he comes to Charlotte amid questions about his effort. Ihmir Smith-Marsette flashed toward the end of last season as a gadget player and could see increased snap counts this year.

There is no true No. 1 option on the team - Johnson being the closest to it after his offseason trade - and many experts expect the position to be given top priority when the Panthers go on the clock in the second round of the 2024 NFL Draft. This year's receiver class is one of the best in recent memory, so striking early could net a franchise player.

The popular name so far has been South Carolina's Xavier Legette, who seems locked in to get picked at No. 33 if he's still around. He excels as an explosive vertical threat and would be a nice complement to Johnson's speed.

If Legette is not an option, some have mentioned Georgia's Ladd McConkey. He profiles as a less physical receiver with outstanding football IQ and route-running abilities.