Ranking top 12 wide receiver prospects: Who will the Carolina Panthers draft?

The Carolina Panthers would be wise to take advantage of an outstanding draft class.
Adonai Mitchell
Adonai Mitchell / Aaron E. Martinez/American-Statesman /
2 of 7

12. Roman Wilson

There is an argument to be made that the Carolina Panthers should consider drafting Adam Thielen’s replacement or successor. Despite having over 1,000 receiving yards and 100 catches in 2023, the veteran isn’t the athlete he once was and his role should begin to be limited throughout the next season.

There aren’t many true slot receivers in this year’s class. However, the 12th-ranked wide receiver on this list offers the skill set to be not just a quality slot but a dynamic one at that.

Roman Wilson has the chance to be drafted earlier if the Panthers choose to select Thielen's successor with one of their first two selections. A key piece in Michigan’s title run, he is one of the more dynamic playmakers in this year’s draft. He is an incredible athlete with the explosiveness and speed to make the single-high safety covering the middle deep third quite conflicted. The prospect uses that explosiveness to eat off-man cushions and accelerate in his breaks.

The former 2020 four-star high school recruit has a small frame at 5-foot-10, 186 pounds, and does not present the adequate play strength to consistently win against press-man coverage. His lean frame will lead to some concerns about his durability at the next level. However, Wilson has shown to win from the slot or as the Z-receiver versus off-man coverage in two wide receiver sets.

Keep an eye on the All-Pac 12 receiver as a dark horse in the second round for Carolina.

11. Ricky Pearsall

Here is another wide receiver prospect who could be seen as a successor to Adam Thielen. Ricky Pearsall may be fighting off some of the white receiver stereotypes that can be a hindrance at times. Yet, some have the fifth-year senior from Chandler, Arizona as a top-seven prospect at his position. Here is why.

Pearsall’s biggest strength is his spectacular ball skills. The former three-star high school recruit has filled up his highlights in Gainesville, including arguably the catch of the year in traffic against Charlotte. 

Along with Pearsall’s amazing ball skills, he also displays great tempo as a route runner and the football acumen to identify and attack zone coverage. The Florida prospect has quality foot speed at the line of scrimmage to beat press-man, but will sometimes falter in the play strength department. Plus, you aren’t going to get a sound run blocker, a potential key piece for what Dave Canales might want in a potential run-focused offense.

Pearsall is a rock-solid wide receiver prospect in this draft class. He could go as high as No. 33 overall or as low as the middle of Round No. 3. He’ll give you sound alignment versatility and the ability to win from either the slot or Z role.