As a lead-up to the 2024 NFL draft, we’ve broken down the current depth chart of every NFL team and identified the biggest draft and team needs for the Carolina Panthers.

You can find additional team-by-team draft needs articles and other draft content on our 2024 NFL Draft Hub.

Panthers Draft Needs: Top Positions of Need in 2024

  1. Wide Receiver
  2. Defensive Back
  3. EDGE

What Picks Do the Carolina Panthers Have in 2024?

The Carolina Panthers have 7 picks in the 2024 NFL Draft, including:

  • Round 2 (33)
  • Round 2 (39)
  • Round 3 (65)
  • Round 4 (101)
  • Round 5 (141)
  • Round 5 (142)
  • Round 7 (240)

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Carolina Panthers Draft Capital Stats

Our Sharp Draft Value Rank is a valuation of draft capital based on a combination of average performance delivered and average dollars earned on second contracts.

This is based on two public models: performance delivered based on draft slot (the AV model created by Chase Stuart) and contractual earnings in non-rookie deals based upon draft slot (the OTC model created by Brad Spielberger and Jason Fitzgerald).

  • Panthers Sharp Draft Value Rank: 18 of 32 teams
  • Panthers AV Model Draft Value Rank: 17 of 32 teams
  • Panthers OTC Model Draft Value Rank: 22 of 32 teams

Carolina Panthers Draft Value vs. Other Teams:

The Panthers’ draft value is 6% lower than the league average of all 32 teams. 17 other teams have more draft value entering the 2024 NFL Draft.

Panthers Draft Value Infographic

Carolina Panthers Draft Prediction:

Mock draft expert Ryan McCrystal believes the Panthers could target a cornerback like Kamari Lassiter (CB, Georgia) with their top pick at No. 33 overall in the second round.

Carolina Panthers Strength of Schedule, 2024

The Carolina Panthers have the 10th-easiest NFL strength of schedule for the 2024 NFL season.

2024 NFL Strength of Schedule Infographic

Carolina Panthers Offense: Depth Chart, Analysis & Draft Needs

Rich Hribar breaks down the offensive depth chart by position for the Carolina Panthers, identifying areas where the team could improve in the upcoming 2024 NFL Draft.

Panthers Offense Infographic

Quarterback Depth Chart, Panthers:

  1. Bryce Young
  2. Andy Dalton

Last season’s runout could not have gone worse for the Panthers after they sent a bevy of future picks and their lead wide receiver to the Bears in exchange for the first pick.

With both Bryce Young and C.J. Stroud in contention for the pick, Carolina went with Young.

Young finished 32nd in the league in passer rating (73.7) while Stroud was sixth (100.8).

Young was dead last among qualifying passers with 5.5 yards per pass attempt while Stroud was third (8.2 Y/A).

Young’s 2.1% touchdown rate was ahead of only Kenny Pickett (1.9%) among qualifying passers.

Young completed a league-low 39.3% of his passes on throws 10 yards or further downfield.

He was sacked on a league-high 26.8% of his pressures.

Young was not only then blown away by Stroud in terms of on-field performance but was historically one of the worst rookie quarterbacks in the modern era.

Since 2000, there have been 63 quarterbacks that have qualified for league passer rating as rookies.

Young’s 5.5 yards per pass attempt ranks 56th on that list.

The only quarterbacks he is ahead of are Derek Carr, Chris Weinke, Blaine Gabbert, Joey Harrington, Jimmy Clausen, Kyle Orton, and Bruce Gradkowski.

The only other quarterbacks below 6.0 Y/A as rookies were David Carr, Josh Rosen, and Kyle Boller.

Young’s 36.0% success rate as a passer ranks 53rd on that list, ahead of Boller, Gradkowski, Carr, Zach Wilson, Harrington, Chad Hutchinson, Rosen, Orton, Gabbert, and Clausen.

Young’s -0.21 EPA per dropback sits 59th on that list, ahead of Orton, Clausen, Rosen, and Hutchinson.

The silver lining is that he at least was not the worst rookie passer in Carolina team history, but given the context of his draft investment, there is hardly any solace there.

TruMedia’s accuracy data only goes back four years, but Young’s 15.2% inaccurate throw rate is ahead of Zach Wilson (15.4%) and Justin Fields (17.0%) among rookie passers over that span.

There is still more runway for Young to change the course from his rookie season, but outside of Derek Carr, this is hardly the type of company that is going to warm the souls of Panther fans.

From his offensive line, surrounding pass catchers, his year-one coaching staff getting fired during the season, and having an early-season ankle injury, there is no shortage of excuse-making options on the table for Young if you are looking for them.

The bottom line is that Young has to play better in his second season than he did as a rookie.

The Panthers are committed to Young short-term, and Carolina has done what they could at the start of this offseason in terms of adding bodies to the offensive line and acquiring a viable pass catcher.

But their best acquisition under the premise of turning things around immediately for Young comes from the hire of Dave Canales as head coach.

Canales has been attached to the resurrection of both Geno Smith and Baker Mayfield in the past two seasons when he was the Seattle quarterbacks coach in 2022 and the offensive coordinator for Tampa Bay last season.

Behind Young, Carolina still has veteran passer Andy Dalton under contract for the 2024 season.

Dalton made one spot start last season, completing 34-of-58 passes for 361 yards with two touchdowns in a Week 3 loss.

Running Back Depth Chart, Panthers:

  1. Chuba Hubbard
  2. Miles Sanders
  3. Mike Boone
  4. Tarik Cohen
  5. Raheem Blackshear
  6. Spencer Brown

The Carolina running game did not fare much better than their passing attack in 2023.

Carolina running backs ranked 28th in the NFL in EPA per rush (-0.17), 26th in success rate (33.1%), and 27th in yards per carry (3.6 YPC).

Their backfield created an explosive rush on 8.4% of their runs (21st) while failing to gain yardage on 19.7% of their runs (25th).

The team went out and added Miles Sanders last offseason after he was coming off a career season with the Eagles.

Sanders never appeared to get right with the Panthers. He dealt with a groin injury during training camp and then suffered shoulder and toe injuries during the season.

He only missed one game outright, but Sanders turned in a career-low 156 touches for 586 total yards and one touchdown. His 3.8 yards per touch were by far the lowest of his career.

He was overtaken by Chuba Hubbard as the lead-back early in the year.

I would expect Sanders to look better this season. The new staff does not have ties to him, but Carolina is going to roll back Sanders this season given his contract.

Sanders will turn 27 years old this May with three seasons remaining on his contract. Carolina does have a potential out year after this season in which Sanders would then cost $2.9 million as a dead cap hit for 2025.

Hubbard enters this season in the final year of his rookie contract.

He handled a career-high 277 touches for 1,135 total yards and five touchdowns last season.

Hubbard ranked 26th out of 49 running backs with 100 or more rushing attempts in success rate (37.0%), 31st in explosive run rate (8.8%), and 36th in yards per rush (3.8 YPC).

Hubbard has shown that he is a viable back that you can throw touches at, but he is still largely nondescript as a back that is going to elevate an offense.

This is not a glaring team need but Carolina is going to keep adding playmakers on offense.

Given the new staff and the potential that both Sanders and Hubbard could be elsewhere in 2025, Carolina could add a body here to compete for touches this season or bridge depth into the following season.

As of right now, Sanders is the only player here under contract after this season. The team does have restrictive rights on Raheem Blackshear and Spencer Brown.

We should anticipate that Carolina is going to run the football.

While Canales gets marks for the turnarounds of Geno Smith and Baker Mayfield over the past two seasons, he also showed in his first season as a playcaller that he wants to run the rock, even if that run game is not particularly effective or efficient.

He also told as much this offseason.

The Buccaneers were 1% below pass rate expectations last season and 3% below pass rate expectations on first downs.

Wide Receiver Depth Chart, Panthers:

  1. Diontae Johnson
  2. Adam Thielen
  3. Jonathan Mingo
  4. Terrace Marshall
  5. Ihmir Smith-Marsette
  6. David Moore
  7. Mike Strachan
  8. Cam Sims
  9. Jalen Camp

Adam Thielen was one of the few bright spots in this Carolina offense a year ago, catching 103-of-137 targets for 1,014 yards and four touchdowns.

Theilen’s 6.1 receptions per game were his most in a season since 2018.

He did average a career-low 9.8 yards per catch, and his yards per catch have dropped from the season before in every season since 2020.

While Thielen was plenty serviceable a year ago, there are plenty of signs that his counting stats were inflated due to the surrounding offense rather than being a target that added a wealth of production that elevated a passing game.

Theilen also tapered off as the season closed.

Theilen opened the season with three 100-yard games over the opening six games of the season.

He then topped 74 yards just once over the final 11 games of the season.

Over the final seven games of the year, he averaged just 3.9 receptions for 41.1 yards per game, producing fewer yards per game than D.J. Chark over that span.

Theilen can still be a solid player from the slot, but given he turns 34 years old this August and his late-season decline, Carolina needed a more viable lead target over depending on Theilen to carry their passing game.

The next closest player on the team to Theilen in receiving yardage last season was Chark, who had just 525 yards. Chark remains a free agent.

With all of that in the air and without a first-round pick, Carolina went out and acquired Diontae Johnson.

Johnson’s 3.9 receptions per game last season were his fewest since his rookie season, but he did set career-highs in yards per route run (1.97), yards per target (8.2), and depth of target (12.7) last season.

Johnson provides Carolina with a wideout that can separate on the perimeter, something they lacked a year ago.

Johnson ranked 11th among NFL wide receivers in ESPN’s Open Score last season after ranking first, fourth, third, and second in their metrics the previous four seasons.

Johnson only has one season remaining on his contract, so Carolina should not be done pursuing wideouts.

The only wide receivers that they currently have under contract beyond this season are Thielen and last season’s second-round pick Jonathan Mingo.

Mingo caught 43-of-85 targets for 418 yards and zero touchdowns as a rookie.

He ran the third-most routes (538) among rookie wide receivers last season, but Mingo was eighth in targets, 10th in receptions, and 13th in receiving yards among those first-year wide receivers.

Out of 27 rookie wideouts to run 100 or more pass routes in 2023, Mingo’s 0.78 yards per route run ranked 20th.

If you are looking for a potential excuse for Mingo’s lack of production, 24.7% of his targets were deemed inaccurate by his quarterback. The only rookie with a higher rate of inaccurate targets was Cedric Tillman (25.0%).

Selected 39th overall last season, Carolina will continue to allow Mingo to turn things around in year two, but the addition of Johnson should make earning targets tougher for Mingo in his second season while we should expect another young wideout added here to the mix to create competition.

Tight End Depth Chart, Panthers:

  1. Ian Thomas
  2. Tommy Tremble
  3. Chris Pierce Jr.
  4. Stephen Sullivan
  5. Jordan Matthews

The Carolina tight ends were an afterthought in 2023.

They ranked 28th as a team in receptions (59) and 27th in receiving yards (561) with four touchdowns throwing to the position.

Carolina targeted their tight ends 18.4% of the time, 23rd in the league.

Tommy Tremble led the group in receptions (23) and yards (194) with three touchdowns.

Through three seasons in the league, Tremble has yet to reach 200 yards receiving in a season.

Ian Thomas has been used more as a blocker than a receiver to this point in his career.

None of these tight ends are signed beyond this season.

This is not a draft that is rich with pass catchers at the position, but adding a rookie to the position should be on the table.

Offensive Line Depth Chart, Panthers:

LT: Ikem Ekwonu, Yosh Nijman, Ricky Lee
LG: Damien Lewis, Nash Jensen, J.D. DiRenzo
C: Austin Corbett, Cade Mays
RG: Robert Hunt, Chandler Zavala
RT: Taylor Moton, Brady Christensen, Ilm Manning, Badara Traore

The Carolina offensive line was a major weakness a year ago.

The Panthers closed the season ranking 30th in the league in ESPN’s run block win rate and 23rd in pass block win rate.

At Pro Football Focus, they were equally poor, ranking 27th in collective pass-blocking grade and 28th in run-blocking grade as a team.

Injuries were a huge part of the story.

The team’s most frequently used offensive line combination was on the field for just 17.2% of their offensive plays. Only two teams (the Dolphins and Jets) had a lower rate as their most often-used combination across the line.

At the end of the season, Carolina had five different combinations across their line on the field for over 100 snaps, but the most one of those combinations played together was 189 snaps.

The good news is that both offensive tackles Taylor Moton and Ikem Ekwonu stayed on the field for all 17 games.

Only Andre Dillard was credited with more sacks allowed than the 11 Ekwonu allowed last season, but a handful of those fall onto quarterback play. Ekwonu’s 6.4% pressure rate was more respectable, ranking 46th out of 101 tackles to play 100 or more snaps in protection in 2023.

Where the team just could not stay healthy was on the interior.

No guard on the roster appeared in more than 10 games for the Panthers last season while only Cade Mays appeared in more than seven games for the team.

At the end of the season, Carolina had 10 different offensive guards log a snap. Five of them played 100 or more snaps with 434 snaps the most played by any guard on the team.

Carolina guards combined to allow pressure on 10.5% of their pass-blocking snaps, the highest rate in the league.

Carolina immediately went out and splurged in that area to open free agency, adding both Damien Lewis and Robert Hunt to huge contracts.

Hunt only appeared in 10 games for Miami last season, but he allowed the lowest pressure rate (1.6%) among all guards with over 100 snaps in pass protection last year.

Lewis was 43rd in the position allowing a 5.1% pressure rate.

In the run game, Hunt had the eighth-highest grade at Pro Football Focus while Lewis was 51st.

With the additions at guard, Austin Corbett will be moving to play center, filling a void vacated by Bradley Bozeman, who left this free agency period.

With the aggressive approach in free agency to address the interior paired with having their tackles locked up, offensive linemen will only be depth here in the NFL Draft for Carolina.

Corbett is the only projected starter that is not signed past this season.

Projected depth here in Mays, Chandler Zavala, Yosh Nijman, Nash Jensen, and Ricky Lee are all signed for multiple seasons.

Fantasy Package

Carolina Panthers Defense: Depth Chart, Analysis & Draft Needs

Raymond Summerlin breaks down the defensive depth chart by position for the Carolina Panthers, identifying areas where the team could improve in the upcoming 2024 NFL Draft.

Panthers Defense Infographic

Defensive Line Depth Chart, Panthers:

  1. Derrick Brown
  2. A’Shawn Robinson
  3. Shy Tuttle
  4. LaBryan Ray
  5. Nick Thurman
  6. Raequan Williams

Carolina finished 22nd in yards per carry allowed on running back runs last season (4.4), giving up 1.24 yards before contact on those carries (16th). They were 12th in ESPN’s run stop win rate.

A’Shawn Robinson was the major addition to this group, and he should help improve those numbers against the run.

He finished second among qualifying defensive linemen in PFF’s run stop percentage last season and seventh in run stuffs.

Derrick Brown finished first in stuffs and ESPN’s run stop win rate, giving Carolina a potentially potent pair against the run.

Brown has yet to offer much as a pass rusher with eight sacks in four seasons, but he earned the four-year, $96 million extension signed in April.

Shy Tuttle was a weak point last season, and no one else on the depth chart stands out. Perhaps the Panthers could use some depth here, but overall the combo of Brown and Robinson is solid.

EDGE Depth Chart, Panthers:

  1. Jadeveon Clowney
  2. D.J. Wonnum
  3. K’Lavon Chaisson
  4. DJ Johnson
  5. Amare Barno
  6. Luiji Vilain
  7. Eku Leota

The Panthers already struggled to get pressure last season, finishing dead last in both pressure rate and sacks, and they lost their most effective pass rushers.

Brian Burns and Yetur Gross-Matos are gone, taking 12.5 of Carolina’s 27 sacks with them. LB Frankie Luvu had another 5.5 of those sacks and is also gone.

The Panthers dipped into the free agency pool to replace those players, signing Jadeveon Clowney, D.J. Wonnum, and K’Lavon Chaisson.

Clowney bounced back with the Ravens last season, recording 9.5 sacks and finishing with a solid 15.7% pressure rate.

He is also finally off the one-year contract carousel, signing a two-year deal that will take him through his age-32 season.

Wonnum is coming off an eight-sack season, the second of his career, but he was actually worse than Derrick Brown in pressure rate.

Chaisson has five career sacks including two last season on 147 pass rush snaps.

A third-round pick last year, DJ Johnson got on the field for just 231 defensive snaps as a rookie and did not record a sack.

The Clowney addition makes this room look a lot better, but this is still a need for Carolina.

Off-ball Linebacker Depth Chart, Panthers:

  1. Shaq Thompson
  2. Josey Jewell
  3. Chandler Wooten
  4. Claudin Cherelus
  5. Tae Davis

Frankie Luvu left in free agency, replaced by former Bronco Josey Jewell.

Jewell has been a tackle machine over the last several seasons, but those tackles were more empty last season than in the past.

Jewell has also never been a plus in coverage, but he is familiar with Ejiro Evero’s system and should be able to hit the ground running.

Shaq Thompson is back after playing just two games last season. He has been a quality option when healthy, giving the Panthers a solid combo at the top of the depth chart assuming he can get back to 100%.

The trio behind those two have primarily been special teams players in their careers. There is no proven depth behind Thompson and Jewell, making this an area of need.

That is especially true with Thompson heading into the final season of his deal, and both starting linebackers will turn 30 this year.

Cornerback Depth Chart, Panthers:

  1. Jaycee Horn
  2. Dane Jackson
  3. Troy Hill
  4. Dicaprio Bootle
  5. D’Shawn Jamison
  6. Lamar Jackson
  7. A.J. Parker

The Panthers only allowed 6.5 yards per attempt last season (6th) and were midpack in EPA per dropback. The problem was they did not force any turnovers, recording just eight interceptions all season.

Donte Jackson left in the trade that brought in Diontae Johnson, and C.J. Henderson had already fallen out of the rotation late last season before leaving in free agency.

The most important factor for this cornerback group is the health of Jaycee Horn, who has played 22 games in three seasons.

Horn has looked the part when healthy and would offer a great anchor for this unit, but it is impossible to trust his availability at this point.

Troy Hill was solid enough as a slot corner last season, allowing 6.3 yards per target in coverage. He also has a lot of experience, but that also means he is getting up there in age.

Dane Jackson was brought in to replace Donte Jackson opposite Horn.

Jackson is coming off a down season with the Bills, but he was solid as a nearly full-time player back in 2022.

Neither Hill nor Jackson is good enough to prevent an addition, especially given Horn’s struggles to stay healthy. This is a spot they could target in the draft.

Safety Depth Chart, Panthers:

  1. Xavier Woods
  2. Jordan Fuller
  3. Nick Scott
  4. Jammie Robinson
  5. Alex Cook
  6. Sam Franklin Jr.

Both Jeremy Chinn and Vonn Bell are gone, and Jordan Fuller was brought in on a one-year deal to replace them.

Evero was Fuller’s positional coach in Los Angeles, so he knows what he is getting from the safety.

Fuller is solid against the run – he recorded a tackle on 11% of his rush snaps last season – but is not at his best in coverage.

Fuller should provide a solid partner for Xavier Woods, who is coming off a great season in which he finished fourth in passer rating against his coverage among safeties according to PFF.

Woods was 18th among all defensive backs in yards per target against last season.

The Panthers do have some young depth including last year’s fifth-round pick Jammie Robinson, but there is no one established behind the starting duo.

Pre Order The Best Analytical 2024 Football Preview

Don’t miss out on Warren Sharp’s 500+ page preview of the 2024 NFL season.

The preview is unlike anything you have ever seen, featuring stunning visualizations built with the reader in mind.

This preview shares insights into players, coaches, teams, and philosophies with one goal in mind: to prepare you for the 2024 NFL season by delivering the smartest information in the fastest, most direct way possible.

Pre order the 2024 Football Preview now!