Round 1, Pick 8: Christian McAffery, RB, Stanford
Round 2, Pick 40: Curtis Samuel, WR, Ohio State
Round 2, Pick 64: Taylor Moton, OG, Western Michigan
Round 3, Pick 77: Daeshon Hall, DE, Texas A&M
Round 5, Pick 152: Corn Elder, CB, Miami
Round 6, Pick 192: Alex Armah, FB, West Georgia
Round 7, Pick 233: Harrison Butker, K, Georgia Tech
Carolina is just two years removed from a 15-1 regular season record followed by a Super Bowl appearance. A bright future with superstar quarterback Cam Newton was on the horizon. However, a 6-10, no-playoffs season in 2016 put those future plans on hold. The silver lining for Carolina is in Newton’s maturity: he’s a couple years older and wiser now, making his football IQ even higher. And now, after the draft, he has more weapons with which to wreck havoc.
McCaffery, a former Heisman candidate, was the most sought-after flexback in the entire draft. The Panthers waited patiently for the 2,000 yard plus collegiate rusher (with over 1,000 kick return yards included) to fall to them at 8. Many argue that Samuel is virtually the same type of player, but he will play slot receiver more often than McCaffry. So that’s two brand new weapons in two different spots for Newton to either pair with Kelvin Benjamin or replace him if he busts.
Moton strengthens a Carolina offensive line that is already pretty good at protecting Newton. Selecting Hall and Elder shows the Panthers trying to patch up a defense that lost key players, such as Kony Ealy and Josh Norman, in the past couple seasons. This season, Carolina will have to prove if 2015 was a fluke or not.