Carolina Panthers 7-round 2024 NFL mock draft: Trading Brian Burns edition

Brian Burns
Brian Burns / Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
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Carolina Panthers draft Drake Nugent

  • Center | Michigan Wolverines
  • No. 165 overall

Bradley Bozeman is on the hot seat entering Year 3 with the Carolina Panthers. He was more than deserving of a new deal after an outstanding first season with the franchise. Unfortunately, things didn't go nearly as well last time around.

Bozeman wasn't alone in that regard. He remained durable from an injury standpoint, but the former Alabama star didn't look suited to the zone-blocking concepts implemented by Frank Reich and Thomas Brown. Looking at Dave Canales' offensive philosophy with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2023, something similar might be in the offing.

This would require some significant adjustment from Bozeman's perspective. If the Panthers opt for an insurance policy, then Drake Nugent could be a nice backup development piece to consider on Day 3 of the 2024 NFL Draft.

Nugent anchored the Michigan offensive line superbly as the Wolverines secured a memorable college football national championship. He's a strong pre-snap communicator and holds his own in all phases. Whether that's enough to continue this upward trend at the NFL level is another matter.

The center needs to add more mobility to his game. Nugent is better suited to run blocking than protecting on passing downs thanks to his rigid frame currently. If these kinks can be worked out, he could emerge as a viable starting option over time and at worst, a solid backup.