There's no doubt that the second half of the NFL season did not go the way the Carolina Panthers wanted it to. The team finished with a 5-12 record despite starting 3-0 on the year and now have their eyes set on the offseason. This roster is in need of a pick-me-up in what is a crowded NFC South division.
One way the Panthers can shake things up is by addressing an area of need through the upcoming 2022 NFL Draft. With that in mind, here are three of the most likely draft targets for Carolina at No. 6 overall.
Carolina Panthers NFL Draft
1. Evan Neal, OT (Alabama)
Drafting an offensive lineman may not be the most exciting pick, but it is a necessary one. The Panthers ranked amongst the bottom 10 NFL in terms of blocking. They have struggled to find a consistent starter at left tackle for the better part of a decade now and Evan Neal looks ready to contribute from day one. The Alabama standout's size allows him to match up against the biggest defensive lineman in the league. His athleticism also gives him a leg up when facing speedy edge rushers. It's possible that Neal falls to the No. 6 spot and Carolina would be smart to scoop him up.
2. Devin Lloyd, Linebacker (Utah)
The Panthers' defense simply hasn't been the same at linebacker since All-Pro Luke Kuechly decided to retire following the 2019 NFL season. They are in need of a bruiser to take over in the middle of the field and Devin Lloyd fits that role to a tee. The Utah Ute can do it all. He can drop into coverage, blitz the quarterback and plug up an opposing rushing attack up the middle. Lloyd racked up 111 tackles (22.0 for loss) across 14 games during his final college season and also posted 4 interceptions. The versatility be brings to the field would take a Carolina defense that finished with the 15th-best total DVOA rating to a whole other level.
3. Kenny Pickett, QB (Pittsburgh)
Carolina general manager Scott Fitterer has shown that he is not afraid of making big moves at the quarterback position after the team traded for Sam Darnold last offseason. However, that move did not work out as the 24-year-old threw just 9 touchdowns compared to 13 interceptions in 11 starts. Pittsburgh's Kenny Pickett is expected to be the first QB off the board in April after finishing his final college season as highest graded signal-caller by ProFootballFocus. Pickett tossed 42 touchdowns in 13 games played and averaged an impressive 332.2 passing yards per outing. Drafting Picket is a high-upside choice here, but it also comes with a fair share of risk.
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Larry Rupp is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Larry Rupp also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username phillyfan424. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.