3 Most Likely Panthers Draft Targets With the 9th Overall Pick

Larry Rupp
Three of the most likely draft targets for the Carolina Panthers with the 9th overall pick.
Three of the most likely draft targets for the Carolina Panthers with the 9th overall pick. / AP Photos/Jacob Kupferman
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A late run at the NFC South title gave Carolina Panthers fans a false sense of hope this past season. The team finished with a losing record (7-10) for the fifth straight year and lacked consistency at both head coach as well as quarterback. The offseason presents an opportunity to brighten the future.

One task Carolina's front office must accomplish is taking the right playmaker to start the 2023 NFL Draft. It's a choice that will alter the franchise's chances of making the playoffs in one way or another. Here's a look at three of the most likely draft targets for the Panthers with the 9th overall pick.

Carolina Panthers 2023 NFL Draft

1. Will Levis, QB (Kentucky)

Carolina is one of only a handful of teams within the top 10 picks that desperately needs a quarterback moving forward. 2022 was a lost season with Baker Mayfield, PJ Walker and Sam Darnold leading the way. The Panthers have more than enough draft capital to move up to the No. 1 overall pick, but they could also hang back at No. 9 and hope a prospect like Will Levis falls into their lap. Levis is a pocket passer with elite accuracy and a quick release that would make him a great fit in the right offensive system. While the Wildcats standout is far from polished, he would give the team someone to build around. Levis threw for 2,406 yards and 19 touchdowns (10 interceptions) in his final season with Kentucky.

2. Myles Murphy, EDGE (Clemson)

The Panthers could opt to add a quarterback through free agency, leaving the front office with an opportunity to upgrade a different position of need through the NFL Draft. The hole left by Haason Reddick was obvious this past season as Carolina finished with only 35.0 sacks (T-No. 25 in NFL). Selecting Myles Murphy to line up opposite All-Pro Brian Burns would give the team a much-needed spark. Murphy is an electric edge rusher praised for a lethal spin move and an uncanny ability to get to the QB. He logged 116 tackles (36.0 for loss), 18.5 sacks and 6 forced fumbles across three college seasons. Murphy's production speaks for itself as he was a first-team All-ACC selection in 2022.

3. Quentin Johnson, WR (TCU)

DJ Moore has developed into a stellar No. 1 wide receiver for the Panthers However, there remain very little depth around him. Terrace Marshall Jr. was the only other player to log more than 300 receiving yards on the season (490). Carolina is in need of a pass-catcher that can turn the game on its head in just one play and Quentin Johnson fits that mold. The exciting TCU wideout averaged a reliable 19.0 yards per reception across three college seasons and racked up 1,069 yards to go along with 6 touchdowns in 2022. His size alone (6-foot-4, 215 pounds) makes him a mismatch against most opposing corners. Add in his ability to make contested catches and the Panthers would have a dangerous one-two punch at WR for the first time in years.

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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. 

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