Ranking every Carolina Panthers pick from the 2024 NFL Draft

Dan Morgan was busy throughout the selection process.
Ja'Tavion Sanders
Ja'Tavion Sanders / Aaron E. Martinez / USA TODAY NETWORK
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6. Chau Smith-Wade - Carolina Panthers CB

  • Cornerback | Washington State Cougars
  • Round No. 5 | No. 157 overall

The Carolina Panthers were in desperate need of cornerback help heading into the 2024 NFL Draft. Dan Morgan's unit looked devoid of genuine talent or depth aside from Jaycee Horn, Troy Hill, and Dane Jackson. Many analysts expected those in power to target one of the top prospects early in the process as a result.

Morgan opted to wait, focusing his premium capital on the offensive side of things once again. The Panthers did pick up Chau Smith-Wade on Day 3, who's incredibly athletic but greatly undersized for an NFL-caliber coverage presence.

Smith-Wade needs to add some extra muscle mass for fear of being bullied by elite-level competition in the pros. It's a work-in-progress selection that could impact proceedings on special teams while developing other areas. But of all the cornerback options available to Carolina during the draft, this one was underwhelming at best.

There is one caveat to this complication. The Panthers are interested in bringing back veteran cornerback Stephon Gilmore, and the feeling is reportedly mutual. It would only be a short-term fix, but the former NFL Defensive Player of the Year represents a significant upgrade on the outside despite his advancing age.

5. Trevin Wallace - Carolina Panthers LB

  • Linebacker | Kentucky Wildcats
  • Round No. 3 | No. 72 overall

There was a lot of meat on the bone when the Carolina Panthers went on the clock at No. 72 overall. Instead of focusing on a key need after prioritizing some offensive playmakers, they went with a defensive prospect in the form of Trevin Wallace.

The former Kentucky star is an interesting prospect. He has the dog-like mentality Dan Morgan is looking to reestablish across the franchise with the athleticism to match. However, he's another undersized second-level defender who doesn't necessarily excel at anything in particular.

Wallace is explosive and has the lateral mobility needed to make his presence felt on running-downs. Getting after the passer might be difficult in the pros thanks to his lack of height and length, but he should be able to play a key role on special teams and become a dependable backup option to Shaq Thompson and Josey Jewell.

It'll be interesting to see how Wallace develops over his rookie campaign. After that, we should get a broader indication of what to expect long term.