Carolina Panthers 7-round 2024 NFL mock draft: Pre-combine edition

The NFL Scouting Combine has finally arrived...

Payton Wilson
Payton Wilson / Jaylynn Nash-USA TODAY Sports
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. player. 432. Edge Rusher. Xavier Thomas. 141. . . xavier thomas. Xavier Thomas

Carolina Panthers select Xavier Thomas

  • Edge rusher | Clemson Tigers
  • Round No. 5 | No. 141 overall

At some point, whether it's this year or another decade, the Carolina Panthers will draft a Clemson player. They may not have an immediate impact or none at all. But they will draft one. It's only a matter of time.

Carolina needs help at rush outside linebacker. Brian Burns is likely to be franchise-tagged, but there is still a glaring need on the edge, both in terms of starting talent and depth. Adding someone who can be a legitimate threat would be ideal for everyone on the Panthers' defense.

Xavier Thomas is going to be an older rookie similar to former edge prospect D.J. Johnson. Thankfully, the Clemson product offers a legitimate pass rush skill set that could make him a valuable asset to an NFL team. He's lightning-quick off the line of scrimmage and his explosiveness has shown to overwhelm opposing offensive tackles in pass protection.

Furthermore, the former 2018 five-star high school recruit offers great competitiveness and a high motor. Thomas brings endless effort to every play. That's the side effect of drafting a defensive prospect from Dabo Swinney's program.

Thomas would be a great fit in Ejiro Evero's defense as a rotational specialist with the rush and counter moves to win consistently off the edge.