The Panthers did a great job of filling needs in free agency, but Carolina will look to find a start in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft.
GM Marty Hurney and his staff quietly put together one of the most best free agency classes of the offseason. The Panthers didn’t spend a ton of money on big names, but they were able to fill big needs on coach Ron Rivera’s roster. That should allow them to draft the best player available at No. 16.
Bringing back Daryl Williams on a one year deal greatly reduces the team’s need to find a starting offensive tackle in Round 1. The signing of Matt Paradis does the same thing at center. Finally, inking Bruce Irvin gives the Panthers coaching staff a player who can fill Julius Peppers’ role in the starting lineup.
That doesn’t mean the Panthers won’t end up drafting a player at one of those positions. Tackle and edge rusher are, in particular, areas where Carolina could focus their attention. Finding another cornerback capable of starting in the nickel role could also merit attention from Hurney and his staff.
The good news is that the Panthers don’t need to sacrifice value for need in Round 1. Here are five prospects that could certainly go to Carolina on Day One.
5. D.K. Metcalf
Drafting a wide receiver in Round 1 might seem a little bit out of character for Rivera, but the departure of Devin Funchess leaves the team without a big, physical wideout capable of making plays in the red zone.
There may be questions about Metcalf’s agility, but his size and speed are undeniable. If he’s still available when the Panthers go on the clock, he’ll be very tempting for the franchise. It’s unlikely he’ll last quite that long, but if he does, Carolina could snap him up.