The Carolina Panthers have a strong foundation in place for the franchise. Adding to it via the draft is critical to remain successful.
Cam Newton and company had an up and down season. The Panthers were missing star tight end Greg Olsen for most of the season. In the middle of the year they traded top wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin. These two moves opened up the door for other players to get involved. Newton and the offense were able to maintain a level of success despite this. They were bounced from the playoffs by the Saints. A strong draft will be critical to keep pushing towards another Super Bowl birth.
This mock draft was done using FanSpeak’s On the Clock prior to the NFL combine.
Round 1 – Pick 24
Sam Hubbard, EDGE, Ohio State
The Carolina Panthers are one of the oldest teams at the pass rushing spots. The trio of Mario Addison, Julius Peppers and Charles Johnson are still contributing despite all being over 30 years old. Adding some talent and youth to that group would go a long way for an already talented defense.
After missing out on top pass rushers Bradley Chubb and Harold Landry, the Panthers settle for Sam Hubbard of Ohio State. Hubbard does not possess the athletic traits of the top rushers in this class but he is a solid prospect with little bust potential.
As an edge defender, Hubbard may be the best run defender in the class. What he lacks in athleticism he makes up for with excellent technique. He is able to convert speed to power. With some refining to his pass rush repertoire he could become a sack artist at the next level. Carolina has flirted with athletes at this position in the past but Hubbard would give them a player who can play on every down and contribute right away. A strong combine could dispel the notion that he is not a good enough athlete to play in space.