With much of the major moving and shaking of free agency behind us, the 2020 Panthers’ roster has begun to take shape – and with that comes a clearer idea of what holes still needed to be filled in this week’s draft.
And let’s be honest, this team has a lot of holes to fill – especially on the defensive side of the ball.
So instead of using the eight picks to try and plug multiple leaks – including finding a starting-caliber corner and defensive lineman in addition to filling out depth across most of the roster – let’s try and use the Panthers’ picks to put as much talent as possible on this roster over the span of Thursday, Friday and Saturday. So with that in mind and to show the value of trading back, I’m going to use five trades over seven rounds to find 17 — yes, you read that right — 17 players in the draft, remaking the Panthers roster in the process.
You want the Panthers to trade down? This is the ultimate trade down exercise.
TRADE: The Panthers send the 7th overall pick to Miami in return for picks 18, 39, 141, 153 and 185
The Panthers need to add picks.
While a top 10 pick like a Derrick Brown or an Isaiah Simmons would be useful, the Panthers are far from one player away and would do better to surround the talent they do have with a breadth and depth of high-quality talent with a view to being more targeted in their acquisitions in 2021. For Miami, they are one year ahead in their timescale, and having done a decent job of adding surrounding talent, they could now use a high pick to add another star – maybe even a quarterback with an exceedingly long last name?
18th Overall: Josh Jones, OL (Houston); 6-5, 319 lbs
The Panthers need to continue their revamp of the offensive line, as while I think Joe Brady’s scheme is more likely to take pressure off the offensive line than pile it on, whether they move forward with Bridgewater or another young quarterback, they will need to do a far better job of protecting him than they did with Cam Newton, not to mention open rushing lanes for McCaffrey.
While I think the Panthers would be hoping that one of Javon Kinlaw or CJ Henderson falls to this point – and if one of those is available, they’ll likely be the pick here – they might do better to take the better player in Jones rather than drafting for need. Jones would be a great fit for the Panthers in terms of both short and long-term needs, as he could play guard in the short term with the ability to move out to tackle with both Moton and Okung in the final year of their deals. While there are tackles with faster feet, he does move quite well, shows generally good technique in terms of hand usage, pad level and weight distribution with the power to move people in the run game and the body control to be effective as a directional blocker if that is what the scheme requires.
Not the sexiest of picks, but he would be a great acquisition for the Panthers should they trade down, both in terms of need and value.