News & Analysis

2018 Draft Breakdown: Carolina Panthers

By Zoltán Buday
May 3, 2018

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Mar 5, 2018; Indianapolis, IN, USA; LSU Tigers defensive back Donte Jackson runs the 40 yard dash during the 2018 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Having a superstar quarterback in his prime surrounded by an aging roster has been a challenging situation for the Carolina Panthers. Their haul in the 2018 NFL Draft showed their desire to provide new weapons for Cam Newton while at the same time thinking about the future replacements of key starters at other position. In the draft, they added an excellent receiver in Round 1, but it’s uncertain how much playing time their other draft picks will get in their first year as they play a position where the current starters are one or two years away from retirement.

While Carolina addressed their aging edge defender group, the tight end position, where it’s unknown how many years Greg Olsen has left and drafted a player who could replace safety Mike Adams. They did not, however, draft an offensive lineman. This comes as a surprise due to the departure of guard Andrew Norwell, right tackle Daryl Williams entering the last year of his contract and center Ryan Kalil announcing he would retire after the 2018 season.

Round 1 (24) D.J. Moore, WR, Maryland, 84.6 overall grade

Moore has been an extremely dangerous receiver with the ball in his hands as he averaged 7.0 yards after the catch per reception over his career. Furthermore, the first receiver selected in the 2018 NFL Draft dropped just 15 of his 161 catchable targets over the last three seasons. While he has not necessarily been an effective deep threat, Moore’s skillset – which is similar to Christian McCaffrey’s – makes him a good fit with Newton. While throwing the ball into tight places may not be the Panthers signal-caller’s forte, Moore’s route-running will help him create separation and provide an open target for Newton. Since he’s different from nearly all receivers currently on Carolina’s roster, the former Maryland playmaker is expected to have a big role on the Panthers offense in 2018.

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