2020 NFL Draft: Carolina Panthers 7-round mock

Carolina Panthers, NFL Mock Draft
Tristan Wirfs, Iowa Hawkeyes

Tristan Wirfs, Iowa Hawkeyes. (Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images)

The Carolina Panthers have eight picks in the upcoming 2020 NFL Draft. Who should they take this year? Here is their latest 2020 NFL mock draft.

The Carolina Panthers are rebuilding. There’s no other way to look at it. They went 5-11 last year. Many of their familiar faces are no longer with the team, including quarterback Cam Newton, tight end Greg Olsen, linebacker Luke Kuechly and cornerback James Bradberry. The Panthers also fired their long-time head coach Ron Rivera mid-season. The rebuilding era begins in Charlotte.

Owner David Tepper made a wise move to bring in an elite program builder at the college level in Matt Rhule to hopefully use his talents at the NFL level. Rhule was able to pry former LSU Tigers passing game coordinator Joe Brady to run things for him on the offensive side of the ball. Carolina may have made a few free-agent signings, but where they can win this year is in the NFL Draft.

The Panthers have eight picks this year, one in each round and two in the fifth round. They have three top-100 picks, including the No. 7 overall pick in the first round. Their primary draft needs are at cornerback, offensive tackle and at wide receiver. Secondary needs include tight end, guard and quarterback. They could also use some help at defensive line, out on the edge and at safety.

This will be a critical draft for Panthers general manager Marty Hurney, who will need to get Rhule the pieces he needs to jumpstart this massive rebuilding project. Even though Carolina signed Teddy Bridgewater to a three-year deal, we all know the Panthers will draft a quarterback in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft next year. Here is their latest 2020 NFL mock draft.

First Round

7

Tristan Wirfs

OT Iowa Hawkeyes

The 2020 NFL Draft is one loaded at the top of it at offensive tackle. While the Panthers could just as easily go with an elite defensive lineman with the No. 7 overall pick in Derrick Brown out of Auburn University, they may very well end up going with offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs out of the University of Iowa.

Wirfs is 6-foot-5 and 322 pounds. He is coming off a junior season where he was named First-Team All-Big Ten and was Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the Year. For him to do this in a Power 5 conference with as much offensive talent as there is in the Big Ten, this is super impressive. Given that he comes from a pro football factory along the offensive line in Iowa, even better.

Wirfs became the first true freshman to start games along the offensive line at Iowa under Kirk Ferentz. Given that he has been in Iowa City for seemingly forever, this is a massive accomplishment. Overall, Wirfs projects as the next great Iowa lineman and the one with the most upside since Brandon Scherff left school half a decade ago.

Ultimately, the Panthers would do fine taking any of the offensive tackles expect to go in the top half of this draft. Though they may not get the first pick of the litter with teams like the New York Giants picking in front of them, Carolina would be getting a cornerstone at left tackle by making a guy like Wirfs the Panthers’ No. 7 overall selection this year. He’ll be a huge pickup right away.

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