Carolina Panthers 7-round 2024 NFL mock draft: Final countdown edition

We are getting ever closer to the 2024 NFL Draft.
Tanor Bortolini
Tanor Bortolini / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
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Carolina Panthers select Edgerrin Cooper

  • Linebacker | Texas A&M Aggies
  • Round No. 2 | No. 39 overall

Remember the emphasis that general manager Dan Morgan and head coach Dave Canales made in their recent interview. Despite most projections highlighting the need to focus on the offensive weapons to go alongside quarterback Bryce Young, they’re looking for playmakers on both sides of the ball.

Should the No. 33 overall selection be an offensive acquisition of some sort, look for the Carolina Panthers to potentially go with a defensive option with their No. 39 overall pick gained when Brian Burns was traded to the New York Giants. The one that makes the most sense to me is the best linebacker in the 2024 NFL Draft, Texas A&M’s Edgerrin Cooper.

The Panthers have had a long history of great linebackers such as Sam Mills, Morgan himself, Jon Beason, Thomas Davis, Luke Kuechly, and Shaq Thompson. I would even include Frankie Luvu during his last few seasons on the team. It’s time for Carolina to find their future on the second level. That could be Cooper, who I see as a Luvu clone of sorts.

Cooper has some areas that he needs to be somewhat more consistent. These include playing with more control at the point of attack and improving his overall play strength. However, he offers the potential to be a three-down linebacker due to his physical nature as a tackler, near-elite athleticism, range, coverage ability, and his growing pass-rush skill set.

Cooper led the Aggies in tackles, tackles-for-loss, and sacks which shows his three-down versatility overall. He's also got the mentality that Morgan is looking to install across the Panthers are part of his cultural reset. So it wouldn't be surprising to see the prospect become one of interest if he takes it this far down the board.

He might not be a Week 1 starter and that’s okay. Cooper would provide value as a third-down coverage and pass-rush asset while continuing to grow as a run defender overall.