Here is a recap of the first half of the 2023 Mock draft for the Carolina Panthers. In the first round, the Panthers traded the ninth overall pick to Seattle Seahawks and selected C.J. Stroud from Ohio State with that pick. In the second round, Carolina took the tight end, Sam LaPorta out of Iowa. Finally, to end part one in the third round, the Panthers chose Devin Achane out of Texas A&M. We begin the second half of the Carolina Panthers Mock draft for the 2023 NFL draft.
The Panthers open the fourth round by addressing a glaring weakness at the end of the season. Cornerback, their starter Jaycee Horn getting injured plus, their third and fourth string corners CJ Henderson and Keith Taylor Jr. not being able to guard Mike Evans, which was why the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were NFC South Championship instead of the Panthers. Carolina will be taking a cornerback during the 2023 draft. His name is Kyu Blue Kelly from Stanford.
Kelly is great in man coverage which is Carolina's specialty when Horn is not injured. He also had great production at Stanford, along with his playstyle appealing to NFL scouts and the Panthers. The top reason for concern for Kyu Blu Kelly is his scheme translating to the NFL level. If Carolina did address cornerback in the draft, Kelly would be a great compliment to Horn when Carolina plays one-on-one with their corners.
With the second fourth-round pick for the panthers, they select, linebacker Yasir Abdullah from Louisville. Abdullah had a nine-and-a-half sack season with the Cardinals and two interceptions. Abdullah's strengths as an end rusher are that he combines excellent power and the quickness of the edge. Yasir as an NFL prospect, has great skills in reading, reacting, and locating the ball, whether it’s being run or thrown.
Abdullah can be a run-stopper for any team that drafts him. Carolina adds an edge rusher to partner with their already stellar edge rusher, Brian “Spidey” Burns. The only glaring weakness that Abdullah possesses, is his frame of 6'1" and 234 lbs. He would need to put on more weight and be around 250 lbs to be an NFL edge rusher and has limited experience dropping back in coverage.
In the fifth round, the Panthers added another wide receiver for whoever the starting quarterback is. Wide receiver Xavier Hutchinson from Iowa State would be perfect for Carolina. Hutchinson had a fantastic senior season with Iowa State, he had 107 receptions for 1,171 yards (eighth in yards for this past season) and six touchdowns, his first 1,000+ season of his collegiate career. Xavier can use his 6'3" 210 lbs frame to his advantage. Along with his frame, he also has great hands and is great at route running.
The only knock on Xavier is his ability to be a vertical threat and his explosiveness while running routes. These weaknesses in Hutchinson as a prospect may be a turn-off for many NFL general managers.
Completion of the Panthers 2023 NFL Mock Draft
The 2023 NFL mock draft for the Carolina Panthers has been completed. Oddly enough, the Panthers do not own any picks in the sixth or seventh round of the NFL draft. They only have seven picks in this draft. Most of these picks came from the Christian McCaffery trade with the San Fransisco 49ers.