Skip to main content

Day 2 draft notebook: Filling in 2025 draft was a key

Dan Morgan

CHARLOTTE — The Panthers entered the draft with a list of needs, but one of the biggest holes was in their 2025 draft class.

So, being able to fill in that blank spot in the second round next year was a pleasant surprise for General Manager Dan Morgan.

The Rams gave up their 2025 second-rounder in the deal that saw the Panthers move down from 39 to 52 in the second round. That helped fill the gap created when the Panthers sent their 2025 second to Chicago in the deal last April to get to Bryce Young with the first pick, leaving them without a two.

"I mean, it's obviously great, acquiring that that two," Morgan said after a busy Friday. "We didn't have one, and to have two twos this year and to go in the next year with no twos, I don't know what I would have done."

Morgan said it wasn't a priority entering the weekend, but when it came up in talks with the Rams, it was too good to pass up.

"I didn't come in saying we've got to get that two back," he said. "When it presented itself, we thought it was a really good opportunity. Hey, we can get that two back. And it was good timing; I would say we felt good about that."

That deal was one of three the Panthers made during Friday's action (after moving up into the first round Thursday).

They moved back up to 46 by trading two fifth-rounders to take running back Jonathon Brooks and then moving back from their own third-rounder (65 to 72) and adding a fifth-rounder back. He said that action was born out of having a group of players with similar grades, and seeing a chance to add picks and get comparable value later.

"I think really the opportunity really just presented itself," Morgan said. "Just to kind of move back, kind of counting players, and felt like it was a good opportunity to move back and pick up some extra draft capital moving forward.

"That kind of set us up for the future a little bit."

The four trades so far is an impressive total, but not the record. They made five pick-for-pick trades in 2021, plus dealing quarterback Teddy Bridgewater for a late pick after trading for Sam Darnold.

Then again, it's early yet.

"It definitely wasn't like on purpose, like to trying to trade before every single pick," Morgan said. "But it kind of turned out that way. I didn't even realize it until afterward."

— With four picks left Saturday — one in each round, the 101st, 157th, 200th, and 240th) — the Panthers have opportunities to fill some specific needs.

Morgan said bringing in another cornerback was obviously one of those (interior offensive line and pass rushers would be others he didn't mention), and that when you get to the third day of the draft, you can cast more of an eye toward filling specific needs.

"I think so," he said. "You know, obviously, we identified some holes coming into the draft, coming into free agency. And listen, you can't fill every single hole all at once, whether free agency, the draft, you wish you could.

"But we're still building this thing. It's a process, and we're just going to follow that, and we're just going to acquire some really good talent, some really good people, and keep building this thing the right way."

Jaycee Horn

— Earlier Friday, the Panthers picked up the fifth-year option on cornerback Jaycee Horn, tying him here through the 2025 season.

The deadline to pick up those options was next week, but Morgan said there was no use waiting to do something they knew they were going to do.

Despite his injury issues, Horn has proven to be the kind of player Morgan wants to build around.

"I just felt like it was one of those things, you see Jaycee around here, the work that he's putting in, the dedication just being here every single day, busting his ass.

"He deserved it. I think, obviously, he's had some tough stretches with injuries, but it's not due to a lack of work or a lack of commitment from Jaycee. So, we're excited about him. We're excited about his future and just really excited for him."

Xavier Legette was welcomed with fanfare during his first day as a Panther. The first round pick banged the Keep Pounding drum, met with coaches and got the first glimpse at his new jersey.

Related Content