NFL Draft primer: Panthers need a lot and don't have a first-round pick to help

2023 record: 2-15, missed playoffs

Draft picks per round

2nd Round: No. 33
2nd Round: No. 39 (from Giants)
3rd Round: No. 65
4th Round: No. 101
5th Round: No. 141 (from Giants)
5th Round: No. 142 (from Titans)
7th Round: No. 240 (from Steelers)

(Taylar Sievert/Yahoo Sports)
(Taylar Sievert/Yahoo Sports)

Top needs

Wide receiver
Basically an entire defense

Bryce Young’s rookie season was a struggle in part because he had no reliable options at wide receiver, and while the Panthers traded for Diontae Johnson, more reinforcements are necessary. The defense, meanwhile, traded away Brian Burns, and needs help everywhere after being one of the league’s worst in 2023.

Best first-round fits

Sorry, Panthers fans. As you know, your pick (No. 1 overall) belongs to Chicago

Best Day 2 fits

Xavier Legette, WR, South Carolina
Ladd McConkey, WR, Georgia
Chris Braswell, EDGE, Alabama

How they did last draft

The Panthers earned a B but got nothing out of their rookie class last season outside of a tiny number of flashes from Bryce Young. The arrow is pointing only up because it would be hard to be as bad as they were in 2023.

Dream fantasy draft pick

Diontae Johnson was a nice start for the new Carolina receivers room, but it's not a final answer. More talent needs to be added as the team looks to support second-year quarterback Bryce Young. Keon Coleman and Xavier Legette are plausible first-round talents who could slide to Carolina's first pick (33rd overall); it's one of the deepest receiver classes in memory. — Scott Pianowski