NFL Draft News & Analysis

Carolina Panthers 2024 NFL Draft picks, analysis and rookie spotlight

2X3FE61 Carolina Panthers first round draft pick Xavier Legette poses during an NFL football press conference on Friday, April 26, 2024, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

The 2024 NFL Draft is now in the rearview mirror. After a flurry of selections from April 25 to April 27, 257 players were selected to join the NFL.

With that, we give you our full recap of the Carolina Panthers‘ draft, with analysis on every selection the team made during the weekend and an in-depth look at their top pick.

For more information on the players your favorite team drafted, it’s not too late to get the 2024 NFL Draft Guide, which includes expanded scouting reports, draft grades, offseason reports, unique advanced data, PFF grades and much more.

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2024 Draft Picks

Legette — Carolina trades into the first round to take Legette, who broke out in 2023 after several nondescript seasons. Legette impressed all season with his strength and speed in an offense where he was the only legitimate threat. He consistently won downfield, posting an FBS-leading 97.7 PFF receiving grade on 10-plus yard throws. The Panthers add their second legitimate weapon at wide receiver to go along with Diontae Johnson.

Brooks — Brooks has ideal size, speed, strength and agility but tore his ACL in 2023, which will raise concerns about his ability to contribute in 2024. Brooks earned a career-best 91.5 PFF grade in 2023, fourth among Power Five running backs, and forced a career-high 63 missed tackles.

Wallace — Wallace is being drafted highly because of his athleticism, so it’s not too shocking to see him coming off the board on Day 2. That said, the production wasn’t there in college, with Wallace earning just a 61.4 run-defense grade and a 58.6 PFF coverage grade in 2023. He absolutely can develop in the NFL, but there will be some work to do to get him there.

Sanders — Sanders was a key cog in Texas’ potent offense in 2023. He posted a 91.3 grade on contested targets and did not drop a single catchable target, both class-leading marks.

Smith-Wade — The Panthers have focused on offense in this draft, but they get good value here at cornerback after trading away Donte Jackson earlier this offseason. Smith-Wade earned PFF grades of at least 70.0 in each of the past three seasons. He allowed just one touchdown in coverage and forced nine incompletions last season.

Crumedy — Crumedy doesn’t provide a ton of pass-rush upside, with just 64 quarterback pressures across 1,149 career pass-rush snaps at Mississippi State. But he is a solid interior presence against the run, having earned PFF run-defense grades above 74.0 in each of the past two seasons.

Barrett — Barrett ranked 198th on PFF’s big board, so this is an excellent value selection. He was one of the leaders and captains for Michigan, and his 84.3 PFF grade ranked ninth among FBS linebackers. He is a consistent player in both run defense and coverage. Carolina is getting a three-down linebacker who played against offenses of all types in his time as a Wolverine.


Rookie Spotlight: WR Xavier LegetteSouth Carolina

  • Impressive size-speed combination (hit over 22 miles per hour on a play in 2023).
  • Dominant contested-catch receiver.
  • Creates yards after the catch, which can be emphasized in the quick game.
  • Huge catch radius and makes the most of it — he made plenty of full-extension receptions last season.
  • Love his mentality to attack the ball in the air.
Click here to see Xavier Legette's 2024 NFL Draft profile!
  • Not much variance in his releases and footwork off the line of scrimmage.
  • Route tree is limited, but it feels like he can diversify it.
The bottom line

Legette does not have ample experience as the focal point of a passing attack, but 2023 showed he is capable of that. He is not as polished as a route runner/release-artist as he needs to be to achieve his potential at the NFL level, but teams take a chance on players of his build.

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