NFL Draft: Panthers shouldn’t reach for a quarterback in first round

Carolina Panthers, NFL Draft

The Carolina Panthers have questions at quarterback with Cam Newton’s health, but should they take one in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft?

Sooner or later, the Carolina Panthers need to make a decision about who will serve as their starting quarterback for years to come. That doesn’t mean the answer has to come in the first round of this year’s NFL Draft. New head coach Matt Rhule may be better served to address other needs on the roster with the No. 7 overall selection.

The Panthers have two quarterbacks on the roster who can be counted on as starters. Cam Newton’s injury issues make him a risky bet to play 16 games, but there’s no questioning his talent when his body is right. Kyle Allen is likely best suited to be a backup, but he can operate the Carolina offense with some measure of efficiency in the short-term.

Those two relatively proven commodities, alongside developmental prospect Will Grier, gives the Panthers flexibility heading into the draft. General Manager Marty Hurney shouldn’t rule out the possibility of drafting a quarterback in the first round, but they must do their due diligence on a number of non-quarterback prospects that could be available when the Panthers are on the clock.’s first mock draft actually has Carolina addressing their need for talent along the defensive front with their first round selection. Daniel Jeremiah is mocking Auburn defensive tackle Derrick Brown to the Panthers. Adding a disruptive interior lineman could go a long way toward building Rhule’s first NFL defense.

The real challenge for the Panthers is that their draft pick isn’t quite high enough to ensure their ability to draft a quarterback with good value in the first round. Joe Burrow will be off the board with the No. 1 overall selection to the Bengals. Despite serious injury concerns of his own, Tua is a good bet to be selected before the Panthers pick at No. 7. Assuming both projections hold, the Panthers would be forced to choose between Oregon’s Justin Herbert and Utah State’s Jordan Love at No. 7.

Neither is worth such a premium draft selection. They both have the talent to develop into above-average NFL starters in time, but each also carries a great deal of risk heading into the NFL.

The Panthers cannot afford to miss on their first round selection. It’s imperative they draft a player capable of helping them right away. Swinging a missing on a risky quarterback prospect at No. 7 would represent a disastrous scenario for Rhule in his first draft.

Next: 5 offseason moves the Packers need to make

Expect to see the Panthers linked with every quarterback with a first round grade heading up to April’s draft. That doesn’t mean they won’t explore other options though. It’s possible the value of a player at a different position will prove to be the right choice for Carolina.

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