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Carolina Panthers 2024 NFL Draft Recap

The 2024 NFL Draft is over. Carolina selected a player in each of the seven rounds. Since the draft has ended, draft grades have been all over the scale. Some say they had a successful draft, while others say they should've addressed other positions with their second and third rounds. Here is my take on how the Panthers drafted in this past draft.

Round 1: WR Xavier Legette (South Carolina)

The Panthers got this pick via the Buffalo Bills front office. Carolina traded up on a pick and only had to give the Bills a fifth-round pick (number 141). There were rumors that the New England Patriots also wanted this pick and would draft either Keon Coleman (who the Buffalo Bills drafted) or Xavier Legette (who the Panthers drafted).

As mentioned with the 32nd overall pick in the 2024 NFL draft, the Carolina Panthers selected Wide Receiver Xavier Legette from South Carolina. Wide Receiver is something the Panthers desperately needed to address. During Bryce Young’s rookie year, his top target was an aging Adam Thielen (who had a 1,000+ season on the 2-15 Panthers). Overall, Legette was an excellent pick for two reasons. The first reason is he has great speed and agility. The second reason Legette was a terrific pick is his thick southern accent. 

Round 2: RB Johnathan Brooks (Texas)

Carolina was very active in the second round of the draft. The first of two trades made was with the Los Angeles Rams. The Panthers received a second-round pick (number 52), a fifth-round pick (number 155), and a 2025 second-round pick (which will be crucial for building for the future). The Rams were given a second-round pick (number 39). 

However, Carolina would not draft at 52. Instead, they traded up with the Indianapolis Colts, who had pick 46. Indianapolis would get a pick in the second round (52) and two picks in the fifth round (142 and 155). All this maneuvering led to the selection of Running Back Johnathan Brooks from Texas. Brooks provides the Panthers with speed and field vision. Brooks could be a second option where Dave Canales can run a dual-back system. However, the biggest weakness of Brooks’s scouting report was that he was injury-prone (he suffered a torn ACL in November, which ended his season). 

Round 3: LB Trevin Wallace (Kentucky)

The Panthers continued their Day 2 activity by trading back with the New York Jets from 72 to 65 (Carolina received an additional fifth-round pick). With that 72nd pick, the Panthers drafted Linebacker Trevin Wallace from Kentucky. Wallace’s athleticism makes him a good linebacker in Ejiro Evero’s modern NFL defense. Trevin is the off-the-ball type of linebacker that Carolina can use. He is a shifty linebacker that can move. His weakness is he is still a raw prospect but has a ton of talent, and with coaching, he can be a star for the Carolina Panthers.

Round 4: TE Ja’Tavion Sanders (Texas)

Carolina used pick number 101 on Tight End Ja’Tavion Sanders from Texas, as announced by their International Fan of the Year David Löbbert from Germany. Sanders and Brooks were teammates at Texas. Sanders possesses good speed for his size ( 6”3 and 245 lbs). His weight is a big knock on Sanders; he is a little underweight for what you typically want in a tight end. With that said, Sanders ranked second behind Brock Bower in Next Gen Stats' draft score metric.

Round 5: CB Chau Smith-Wade (Washington St.)

Dan Morgan and the Panthers' front office opened the final day of the NFL draft by drafting Chau Smith-Wade from Washington State with the 157th pick. Smith-Wade has a very high coverage IQ and versatility (this is crucial for Evero’s defensive scheme). Cornerback is a massive need for Carolina, with their only good corner being Jaycee Horn (who is injury-prone). It was shocking that it took until the fifth round to address the Cornerback position. A weakness for Chau is that his frame is smaller for a CB.

Round 6: DT Jaden Crumedy (Mississippi St.)

The Panthers selected Defensive Tackle Jaden Crumedy from Mississippi State with the 200th pick in the 2024 Draft. Crumedy has the size and athleticism to warrant a late-round pick. However, he still has room to grow as a pass rusher. He is a good depth piece on the defensive line.

Round 7: LB Michael Barrett (Michigan)

The Carolina Panthers’ last pick in this draft was Linebacker Michael Barrett from Michigan, who was selected with the 240th pick. Barrett has strengths in tackling, Coverage, and range. In addition to excellent play-in-zone coverage (that is the scheme of Evero’s defense), Barrett’s weakness is his instincts. 

This concludes the Carolina Panthers draft. Overall, they selected good players who fit the “Dawgs” that new GM Dan Morgan had been preaching about since his introductory press conference. Nonetheless, I do think they should have addressed the secondary earlier in this draft. 

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