The Carolina Panthers, led my quarterback Cam Newton, put up a strong performance in 2017 despite key injuries across the board. They’ll look to continue that push with a good draft class.
After a rough 2016, the bar was not set very high for the 2017 Carolina Panthers. Quarterback Cam Newton was coming off a down year and the offense looked like a mess. 2017 started rough with star tight end Greg Olsen going down with an injury. The team also traded former first round pick Kelvin Benjamin mid-season.
Despite that, Newton returned to his near MVP form and led the team into the playoffs. Now they will need to replace a few key free agent departures in the NFL draft and get back atop the NFC South.
This mock draft was done using Fanspeak’s On the Clock, a fun and informative tool for all NFL draft fans.
Round 1 – Pick 24
D.J. Moore, WR, Maryland
After trading away Benjamin, fellow former first round pick Devin Funchess stepped up and proved that he can be Newton’s top target. However, the team lacked any credible threat after Funchess with Olsen injured. Running back Christian McCaffrey was the team’s second leading receiver. The offense will get back Olsen and last year’s second round pick Curtis Samuel to bolster the passing game. Carolina also brought over Torey Smith in an offseason trade with the Eagles. Grabbing one of the draft’s best receivers will also help.
D.J. Moore out of Maryland has cemented himself into the conversation for the draft’s best receiver. Calvin Ridely of Alabama still gets the nod but Moore made it a conversation, something that seemed unlikely at the conclusion of the college football season.
Moore is an exceptional athlete that was plagued by terrible quarterback play and a shaky offense a whole. Despite those set-backs, he put up three successful and productive seasons for the Terrapins. The typical comparison is fellow former Terrapin Stefon Diggs.
Like Diggs, Moore is electric with the ball in his hands and has the ability to win contested catches. Measuring at 6-feet was a big win for Moore who had one of the best NFL combines of his receiver group. He still has room to grow and being opposite a bigger receiver like Funchess could give him the matchups needed to exploit and show off his extraordinary talent.