Carolina Panthers 7-round 2024 NFL mock draft: Enemy deal edition

Nothing should be off the table...
Jared Wiley
Jared Wiley / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
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Carolina Panthers draft DeWayne Carter

  • Defensive Line | Duke Blue Devils
  • Round No. 3 | Pick No. 79

The Carolina Panthers gave their run defense a significant boost with the signing of A'Shawn Robinson in free agency. Slotting him next to Derrick Brown and Shy Tuttle on the defensive front instantly makes this unit stronger and more competitive. However, this shouldn't prevent Dan Morgan from targeting another option who could assist on the rotation and emerge as a prolific starter quickly.

It seems unlikely that Tuttle will be around in 2025 unless the veteran makes major strides. LaBryan Ray and Nick Thurman flashed promise during their involvement last season. Whether they can build on this positive momentum en route to becoming future starters is another matter.

The Panthers cannot stand still after losing so many key figures on defense. Looking at the options available, DeWayne Carter is an intriguing possibility, possessing the athletic attributes that could flourish within defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero's creative 3-4 base scheme.

Carter is a formidable presence against the run. His thick, compact frame provides stout consistency in clogging running lanes, displaying the play strength and hand placement capable of shedding blocks with relative comfort. The Duke prospect is a highly intelligent player, deciphering plays quickly and finishing with true conviction when tackling opportunities arise.

That's not all. Carter can get after the quarterback with a ferocious bull rush and improving speed-to-power moves for a man his size. He's not the finished product technically, but there is enough to suggest the lineman can be an upgrade on Carolina's defensive line rotation, potentially operating either as a 3-4 defensive end or even as a nose tackle with a little added mass.

The Panthers are looking for high-character guys and emerging leaders with the mentality to keep pushing forward through good times and bad. Carter ticks the boxes in this regard as well, so there are far worse avenues Morgan could go down in pursuit of defensive line help.