By virtue of winning the NFC South and an NFC Wild Card Playoff, the Panthers will have the 25th overall choice in the 2015 NFL Draft on April 30.
Carolina (7-8-1), Baltimore Ravens (10-6), Dallas Cowboys (12-4) and Denver Broncos (12-4) all lost in the divisional round of the playoffs, and their draft positions – 25th through 28th – were determined according to the reverse order of their final regular season records.
The Panthers also picked 25th in 2007, although they originally held the 14th overall selection but traded back 11 spots and took linebacker Jon Beason, who ranks third in franchise history with 701 tackles. That trade netted an additional second-round choice in 2007, which Carolina used to select center Ryan Kalil – who has been to four Pro Bowls.
Carolina currently has seven selections in the seven-round draft, holding the 25th pick in each of the seven rounds. Last August, the Panthers traded running back Kenjon Barner to the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for a 2015 seventh-round conditional draft choice. However, the conditions of the trade were not met, so Carolina did not acquire the extra pick.
It is possible that the Panthers could receive more picks when the league awards compensatory choices, typically in March.
Kuechly and Olsen were previously selected as the Panthers' two representatives in the Pro Bowl, and Kuechly was honored with the prestigious All-Pro designation.
Kuechly, who paced the NFL in tackles for the second time in his three-year career, also was named All-Pro and All-NFL last season in addition to making his first Pro Bowl appearance. The honors were all firsts for Olsen, who eclipsed franchise marks for tight ends with 84 receptions and 1,008 yards this past season.