Carolina Panthers 2023 Draft Grade
The Carolina Panthers had one of the best drafts this year. By trading up to the number one overall pick, they were almost guaranteed to get their franchise QB. After that pick, I was unsure of what their game plan was going to be for the rest of the draft. But it is safe to say that I am a big fan and excited to see how this draft class develops.
Round 1: No. 1 (via CHI) – Bryce Young, QB, Alabama Crimson Tide
With the Panthers trading up to the first overall pick, it almost became written in the stars that they were going to take Bryce Young. Although he is very undersized, he has most of the tools that you want in a franchise QB. To start, he is a very instinctual player who can hit receivers anywhere on the field. Additionally, he does a good job of anticipating where his receivers will get open and place the ball in the perfect spot. Finally, he is a very calm player in the pocket and can make plays out of nothing.
Round 2: No. 39 – Jonathan Mingo, WR, Ole Miss Rebels
After drafting your franchise QB, it is only fair that you get him a weapon with your very next pick. Mingo is a very physical receiver who can use his strength to make plays anywhere on the field. He is also a distinguished route runner who does a good job of tracking the ball. Honestly, he reminds me a lot of Treylon Burks who I was pretty high on last year. Mingo and Young together should be a very dangerous combination over the next few seasons.
Round 3: No. 80 (via PIT) – DJ Johnson, EDGE, Oregon Ducks
Johnson is a very explosive athlete at the EDGE rusher position. He has an amazing blend of speed and power. At the combine, he ran a 4.49 40 with a 1.59 10-yard split. This allows him to quickly run the arc and chase down the ball carrier behind the line of scrimmage. He also has very strong hands which allow him to force blockers back into the pocket. Then, he can disengage and make a play on the QB if they are still in the pocket. Even if they escaped, he has the speed to chase them down and prevent a gain of yardage.
Round 4: No. 114 – Chandler Zavala, G, N.C. State Wolfpack
Not only are they giving Young another weapon, but they are also adding a player who was teammates with current left tackle Ikem Ekwonu. Similar to Ekwonu, Zavala is an excellent run blocker. He does a good job of keeping his pad level low and his knees bent. This allows him to gain leverage on defenders and steer them away from the ball carrier. He also has a very good understanding of blocking angles and can effortlessly open up run lanes.
Round 5: No. 145 – Jammie Robinson, S, Florida State Seminoles
I am shocked that Robinson fell down this far. Robinson is one of my favorite safeties in the 2023 NFL Draft. He is incredibly versatile and can line up anywhere on the field. Seriously, if you want to line him up on the defensive line, he can get the job done. Robinson also plays with a high motor and will never give up on a play. Although he is good in zone coverage, I am really impressed with his ability to stop the run. If we are talking about value, Robinson may be the best pick the Panthers made.
Final Thoughts on Carolina Panthers Draft
Overall, I think the Panthers hit on every single pick in this draft. In only 5 picks, they added a franchise QB, star WR, versatile EDGE rusher, powerful guard, and a potential star safety. Honestly, I don’t think they could have drawn it up any better. I am very excited to see how the Panthers do next season and years to come.
Overall Draft Grade: A
Panthers 2023 Draft Grade Analyst – Matthew Lewis