Carolina Panthers 7-round 2024 NFL mock draft: Board manipulation edition

Dan Morgan has another chance to impress...
Ja'Lynn Polk
Ja'Lynn Polk / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
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Carolina Panthers select Mike Sainristil

  • Cornerback | Michigan Wolverines
  • Round No. 3 | No. 86 overall

One cannot be anything other than impressed by how the Carolina Panthers defense is being structured this offseason. Despite the loss of Brian Burns and Frankie Luvu, Dan Morgan did a nice job of putting some solid pieces together that will make Ejiro Evero’s run defense a much-improved unit. 

While it is too early to say if this will work out, the looming decision of a potential Stephon Gilmore return could alter the Panthers plans for the draft in some fashion. Either way, they should still draft another cornerback, specifically a nickel back with Troy Hill on a one-year deal and an unproven talent in last year's fifth-round selection Jammie Robinson.

Mike Sainristil was a fixture on Michigan’s defense this past season. He brings a competitive spirit that Morgan should be quite fond of. He plays much bigger than his small stature and offers terrific effort on every down.

Not only that, Sainristil offers the ball skills, short-area quickness, and discipline in coverage to be a quality starting nickel at the next level. He may not start right away for the Panthers, but he does give them sufficient depth in his first year.

Even if the Panthers draft another explosive young defensive back, it should not prevent them from signing Gilmore once the draft concludes. The former NFL Defensive Player of the Year is also reportedly keen on another homecoming despite his acrimonious departure in 2021.