CHARLOTTE — With the Panthers eliminated from playoff contention and heading into the final week of the regular season, it's time to start looking ahead to the 2022 NFL Draft.
If the season ended today, the Panthers would pick in the sixth spot overall, prime position to find help along the offensive line or perhaps at quarterback.
That's the range where tackles such as Alabama's Evan Neal, Mississippi State's Charles Cross, or N.C. State's (and Charlotte's) Ikem Ekwonu could be available, or a quarterback such as Pittsburgh's Kenny Pickett.
Here's a look at the current draft order, as it stands after Week 17. All ties for draft order are broken by strength of schedule (with teams with weaker schedules picking higher):
|7||Seattle (pick traded to NYJ)||6-10||.518|
|8||Chicago (pick traded to NYG)||6-10||.520|
This weekend's games could change the draft order, and the Panthers could conceivably get as high as fifth with a loss to the Buccaneers and a Giants win against the Washington Football Team (since the Giants have a significantly higher strength of schedule number). With a win against the Bucs, the Panthers would fall no lower in the order than ninth overall, though likely higher because of their strength of schedule is lower.
Stay tuned to Panthers.com for the latest on next year's draft plans and options, as we look ahead to a busy offseason.
See the Panthers top draft picks pose in front of a newly built set from Lowe's at Bank of America Stadium.