The Panthers ended up only having six picks in the 2022 NFL Draft, but they certainly made the most of them. Today, we are grading each of the Carolina Panthers’ 2022 Draft selections.
- Round 1, pick 6: Ikem Ewkonu
For too many years, the Panthers have neglected the Offensive Tackle position. Finally, that has changed. With the 6th overall pick, the Panthers took Ikem Ekwonu. Ikem was a freak of nature in college; clearly was the most dominant player on the field anytime he took a snap, mauling over nearly anyone lined up across from him. He is no doubt going to be a good run blocker and a tone-setter on this offensive line. With this pick, the Panthers got one of the top players in the draft at arguably the team’s biggest position of need.
- Round 3, pick 94: Matt Corral
Matt Corral could be the next franchise quarterback of the Carolina Panthers, or he could be the next Jimmy Clausen. Based on his college career, he has all the tools and talent to succeed in the NFL, but we don’t know if he is going to be able to put it all together. Either way, Matt Corral fell far lower than anyone projected him to. A lot of people had him going in the top rounds and yet, the Panthers were the lucky team to come swoop him up in round 3.
- Round 4, pick 120: Brandon Smith
Three main takeaways when watching Brandon Smith: he wants to hit and he’s an athletic freak, but he’s very raw. When you have a RAS Score that is only .01 less than Luke Kuechly’s (9.97 to Luke’s 9.98), you have potential. He can fly and has all the tools to be a starter. However, he struggles with play recognition, is an inconsistent tackler and is a risk to get hit with a penalty. In 2022, I project him to be competing for a starting LB spot.
- Round 6, pick 189: Amare Barno
Speed and length are two elite traits that cannot be taught, but that is exactly what Amare Barno has. The problem is that’s pretty much all he has. He lacks a wide variety of pass rush moves, has a weak bend off the edge and is underweight for a defensive end. In two years, I could see him being really good or being out of the league. This is truly a boom or bust pick. In year 1, I expect him to mainly be a Special Teams ace.
- Round 6, pick 199: Cade Mays
I have a feeling this guy is going to be groomed to be our Denis Daley replacement. He’s played pretty much every position on the offensive line but has spent the most time at guard and played his best football there. He played at a pretty decent level in the SEC in 2021, allowing just 5 pressures and 1 sack. I would say he’s a better run blocker than pass blocker as he’s very quick off the ball, can get to the 2nd level in no time and has above average lower body strength to drive people back. I project him to be a high-level backup that’s going to hang on the roster for a long time. However, he may never be a consistent starter.
- Round 7, pick 242: Kalon Barnes
Kalon Barnes was drafted for one main reason: he’s fast. However, he hasn’t picked up all of the fundamentals of playing at a starting level. At best, Carolina might look to use him to cover a team’s speedy WR3 such as Damiere Bryd or John Ross.
What did you think of the Panthers’ 2022 draft?