Carolina Panthers 7-round 2024 NFL mock draft: New beginnings edition

A new era in Carolina has begun...

Troy Franklin
Troy Franklin / Ben Lonergan/The Register-Guard / USA
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Carolina Panthers select Brenden Rice

  • Wide Receiver | USC Trojans
  • No. 140 overall

If you haven’t noticed so far, the trend of this mock draft is the additions of playmakers to surround Bryce Young, even if their roles aren’t incredibly significant. Last year should be a wake-up call to the organization that the quarterback needs better talent around him to display his gifts.

That is no slight to Young. No one - not even C.J. Stroud or Patrick Mahomes - would win more than four games in last season’s offense.

In addition to Troy Franklin, why not add the son of the second-greatest player of all time to the roster? Brenden Rice doesn’t possess the God-given abilities his dad Jerry had. But he is a unique player in his own right.

At 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds, Rice offers the prototypical size for an “X” receiver but has aligned all over the formation for USC. There’s a little bit of Josh Reynolds to his game due to size, instincts as a route runner, and enough vertical speed to create separation downfield.

Rice also has great ball-tracking skills and ample hands. This allows him to snag passes away from his frame thanks to the prospect's wide catch radius.

I don’t expect Rice to be a No. 1 wide receiver for any NFL franchise. For Carolina, he would offer adequate depth to the position while continuing to learn the ropes. His ability to track the ball and play away from his frame could get him on the field quickly later in his rookie contract.