5 linebacker draft prospects the Carolina Panthers must consider in 2024

Could Dan Morgan add another dominant defensive second-level presence?
Payton Wilson
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Carolina Panthers could draft Cedric Gray

Cedric Gray is a former North Carolina Tar Heel linebacker and Charlotte native. He would be a local target who played his high school football at Ardrey Kell High School in the city and a popular addition from a fan perspective.

Gray is projected to land somewhere between Day 2 and Day 3 of the NFL Draft, most likely in the third or fourth round. At the NFL Scouting Combine, the linebacker measured 6-foot-1 1/2 and 234 pounds. He is a tremendous athlete who does a great job with his pursuit and angles on the ball carrier. However, he could improve his overall physicality and ability to finish tackles. 

The prospect filled the stat sheet in his senior season, recording 121 tackles with five sacks, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, four pass deflections, and an interception. Gray has the potential to be a starting linebacker, but if he’s not able to reach those heights, he can still contribute as a rotational piece or an exceptional special teamer.

Gray still has his youth as he will be 21 years old when the season begins. If the Carolina Panthers take the hometown kid, it would make for a good story, while adding a player with some intriguing traits. 

Carolina Panthers could draft Jeremiah Trotter Jr.

Believe it or not, the Carolina Panthers have never drafted a player from Clemson University. It seems hard to believe that they haven’t taken a prospect from the program during their three-decade existence. But Jeremiah Trotter Jr. has the athletic intangibles to fit into Dan Morgan's culture restoration project.

Trotter comes in with good genes and an NFL bloodline being the son of former All-Pro linebacker Jeremiah Trotter Sr., but is a tad undersized in today's NFL. He measured at 6-foot-0 and 228 pounds at the NFL Scouting Combine. The former Tiger is projected to be drafted late on Day 2 or relatively early on Day 3.

In Trotter’s junior and final season, he produced 87 tackles with 5.5 sacks, two forced fumbles, two interceptions, five pass deflections, and a touchdown. He is another guy who fills up the stat sheet when he’s on the field and someone the Panthers should consider if they decide to wait a little further down the pecking order.