The Panthers are NFL’s most careless team with draft picks

The Carolina Panthers have a very unique aversion to delaying pleasure. Whether it’s their owner, David Tepper, who has shown impulsive behavior over the years or the organization as a whole, the Panthers have most certainly not wanted to wait to use their NFL Draft picks.

In the 2024 NFL Draft under new general manager Dan Morgan, the Panthers moved down a few times to pick up more draft capital, but that was very much out of necessity. Under previous regimes in 2021, 2022 and 2023, they traded a bunch of their picks for players or to move up in the draft.

In the 2023 draft, they traded a total of seven draft picks to come away with five total players, and only two are going to be on their 2024 roster.

In the 2024 draft, they traded six draft picks to come away with four total players, and only two are going to be on their 2024 roster.

When you add in the 2025 pick they traded last year, the Panthers moved 14 draft picks for a total of just four players who will be on their 2024 roster; Bryce Young, DJ Johnson, Xavier Legette, and Diontae Johnson.

Here are all the transactions where the Panthers used draft picks to trade up or trade for a player since the start of the 2023 NFL Draft.

2023 NFL Draft

  • Traded their first-round (9 overall) and second-round (61 overall) picks as part of the package to move up and select QB Bryce Young first overall.
  • Traded their third-round selection (79 overall) as part of a 2022 trade up to get into the third round to select QB Matt Corral. (He was not on the 2023 roster.)
  • Traded third-round (93 overall) and fourth-round (132 overall) picks to move up to pick 80 and select pass rusher DJ Johnson.
  • Traded sixth-round pick (187 overall) in exchange for Stephon Gilmore in October 2021. (He was not on the roster in 2022 or 2023.)
  • Traded seventh-round pick (226 overall) as part of a package to acquire WR Laviska Shenault in August 2022.

2024 NFL Draft

  • Traded their first-round pick (first overall) as part of the package to move up and select QB Bryce Young first overall in 2023.
  • Traded their second-round pick (33 overall) and sixth-round pick (200 overall) as part of a package to move up one spot to select WR Xavier Legette.
  • Traded their fifth-round selection in exchange for QB Baker Mayfield in July 2022. (Mayfield was released in December 2022.)
  • Traded sixth-round pick (177 overall) as part of a package to acquire WR Laviska Shenault in August 2022.
  • Traded sixth-round pick (178 overall) as part of package to acquire WR Diontae Johnson in March 2024.

2025 NFL Draft

  • Traded their second-round pick as part of the package to move up and select QB Bryce Young first overall in 2023.

It’s pretty easy to notice that the Panthers have been chasing quarterbacks for multiple years. Trading three picks for Sam Darnold in 2021 before trading for Baker Mayfield, Matt Corral, and finally Bryce Young haven’t resulted in success (with the caveat that Young’s story is far from written). To recap, it’s 10 total draft picks since 2021 for four different quarterbacks. To compound the matter, the Panthers ended up with the first overall pick in 2024, and would have had their pick of a historic QB class, where six signal-callers went in the first twelve picks.

DJ Johnson had an underwhelming season after being a third-round pick, adjusting to the NFL in his rookie year. He played in 13 games, starting 3, with 16 tackles and no sacks despite playing nearly one-third of Carolina’s defensive snaps. There’s nothing to say he can’t take a big step forward in Year 2 and beyond.

Young and Johnson are the only two players on the list of traded-for players that have played for Carolina and are still going to be on the roster in 2024.

Corral missed his rookie season with a foot injury and was waived prior to the 2023 season. Gilmore only played a handful of games in Carolina before leaving via free agency. Shenault signed with the Seattle Seahawks this offseason after 37 catches for 332 yards and 1 touchdown in two seasons with the Panthers. Mayfield was released in December 2022 and, after a strong finish to the season with the Rams, joined Carolina’s division rival, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, to be their starting quarterback following the retirement of Tom Brady. Mayfield just signed a contract extension in Tampa.

Morgan is a very respected NFL front office exec, but he has started his tenure with his hands tied behind his back by former Panthers GM Scott Fitterer and coach Matt Rhule. If Young hits, it will be worth it, but if he doesn’t, Carolina will be playing catch up for a long time.

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