Oct. 16, 2016
Carolina Panthers 2017 NFL Draft Targets
After losing 41-38 in Week 6 to the New Orleans Saints to fall to 1-5 on the 2016 season, it's time for the Carolina Panthers to start looking ahead to the 2017 season, and looking to some players to target in the 2016 NFL Draft, because frankly, the Panthers have no chance to save the 2016 season anymore. The Panthers have a lot of areas of need as evidenced by their incredibly poor play in the first half of the 2016 season. Below are a few players that could come in and instantly help the Panthers; that will be a part of the 2017 NFL Draft class.
The Panthers desperately need help on the defensive line, especially at defensive end. Texas A&M standout DE Myles Garrett would be a great addition to the Panthers defense, and would make an instant impact for the Panthers front seven.
The Panthers are going to need a running back starting next year, with current RB Jonathan Stewart aging and very injury prone. There will be three highly talented backs in the 2017 draft, LSU's Leonard Fournette, Florida State's Dalvin Cook and Stanford's Christian McCaffrey. Any of these three players could come in and instantly help the Panthers backfield, and should be watched very closely.
The Panthers secondary has also been an absolute disaster this year, giving up the most passing yards in the league through six weeks. The 2017 NFL Draft doesn't appear to be particularly deep with secondary talent, but one guy to keep an eye on is Desmond King, a senior CB from Iowa. King should be a top 20 pick in the draft and could very well be a target for the Panthers.
Lastly the Panthers offensive line has been horrendous in 2016, especially the Panthers tackles, giving up tons of pressure on QB Cam Newton, so I would absolutely expect Carolina to address this glaring need either via free-agency or very early in the draft. If they go with the second option and draft a young tackle, look for Alabama's Cam Robinson and Notre Dame's Mike McGlinchey to be possible targets for Carolina.
Now, a lot of the draft picks will be set up by what the Panthers decide to do early in free-agency during the 2017 offseason, but the Panthers will have plenty of money to spend this coming offseason and have absolutely no reason to not aggressively upgrade multiple areas of need while their core players are in their prime. However if GM Dave Gettleman is still in place with the Panthers, don't expect the Panthers to be very aggressive in free-agency.