After beginning the 2021 NFL season 3-0, the Carolina Panthers ended the campaign with an abysmal 5-12 record. A big part of their shortcomings came from their bottom-5 offense, which wasn't helped by the offensive line giving up 52 sacks (No. 28) this season.
The Panthers currently hold the No. 6 pick at the 2022 NFL Draft, and ESPN's Mel Kiper is projecting them to use that pick to grab some O-line help in his first mock draft of the year.
Panthers Mock Draft
Kiper is projecting the Panthers to select Mississippi State Bulldogs offensive tackle Charles Cross sixth overall.
Carolina had a carousel at the left tackle position throughout the 2021 season and drafting Cross addresses that need. The 6-foot-5, 310-pound tackle has been rising up the draft board lately and could be a serious contributor from the get-go.
Cross was excellent at defending the pass this season, allowing just 16 pressures on 719 pass-blocking situations. He also allowed only one sack all year, which bodes well for whoever the Panthers quarterback is going forward.
While some Panthers fans may want a flashier player at No. 6, championship teams have offensive lines that can protect their quarterback. Drafting Cross would go a long way in turning that into an eventual reality, which is why he's the perfect pick for Carolina.
The 2022 NFL Draft will begin on Thursday, April 28.
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Devon Platana is not a FanDuel employee. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.