With four picks in the top 100, the Panthers are well-positioned to improve the roster significantly via the 2019 NFL Draft. Carolina's team needs match the strengths of this class.
General manager Marty Hurney addressed the Panthers' need for speed at skill positions in last year's draft, selecting wideout DJ Moore and cornerback Donte Jackson with the first two picks. This year, all eyes are seemingly on the big guys in the trenches.
As we inch closer to the start of Round One, here are four big questions we'll wait to have answered.
How many linemen?
Considering the fact that defensive linemen and offensive linemen are widely seen as the deepest positions in this class, the Panthers could walk away from this draft with a couple of each.
Edge rusher and offensive tackle have been the most popular predictions for Carolina’s first-round pick, and for good reason given team needs and the talent available. But we can’t forget about the interior linemen on both sides of the ball, some of which would make nice Day 2 or Day 3 picks.
Is this the year they take a quarterback?
General manager Marty Hurney hasn’t been shy about his desire to develop a young quarterback. Last year, Carolina passed on taking a quarterback, and they might well pass on the position again if the board shakes out that way.
But if a quarterback they like is staring at them in the middle rounds? Then we could see Carolina select a quarterback for the first time since Hurney tabbed Cam Newton first overall in 2011.
Will Carolina select a safety?
The Panthers have never drafted a safety in the first round, so history suggests it’s an unlikely outcome in 2019 despite Carolina’s opening next to Eric Reid. The team does currently have options, like last year’s third-round pick Rashaan Gaulden and veteran Da'Norris Searcy.
It’s an interesting safety group in this year’s class, with no surefire first-round lock but a handful of guys who could be intriguing Day 2 selections.
Any trades forthcoming?
Thanks to being awarded a third-round compensatory pick (100th overall), the Panthers have two third-rounders this year. Many believe the strength of this draft is in the second and third rounds, so Carolina could sit pretty with those picks.
They also could use one of those third-rounders to move up for someone they really like. As for a trade down? Sometimes it makes the most sense to acquire some more draft capital.
When it comes to trades, it’s anyone’s guess at this point. That’s what makes this time of year fun.