The Panthers had a promising start to the season but now find themselves in the top-10 for the 2022 NFL Draft order.
Although Matt Rhule’s Panthers are currently in the mix of teams on the outside looking in as it pertains to the NFC playoff picture, there is a possibility of them making it. However, let’s say things end up looking the way they presently stand. That would mean, by the conclusion of the 2021 campaign, the Panthers would make it four straight years of missing the postseason, with their last being in 2017.
Carolina began the season 3-0 and they were the talk of the town early. Since then, their fans have gone through a roller coaster of emotions as they have dropped seven of their last nine games. Sam Darnold’s impressive start was a nice sight to see until he began being humbled by numerous defenses and ultimately landing on the injured reserve due to a shoulder issue.
Their superstar running back Christian McCaffrey was poised for a Comeback Player of the Year bid but he suffered an ankle injury causing him to miss the remainder of the season. Now people are questioning the move to pay “Run-CMC” a four-year, $64 million deal last year.
On top of that, Offensive Coordinator Joe Brady was recently fired as he oversaw their inconsistent offense that finds itself in the basement as for total offensive yards per game ranking. Did I mention the return of Cam Newton? Well yes, the man widely regarded as the greatest Panther of all time is back after not being signed through the first half of the season.
Despite the Panthers sitting at 5-7, there is still hope in Charlotte that this team can find their way to the playoffs. If they wish to get there, their defense is going to remain the main focus. The Carolina defense ranks second in the league in yards per game (290.9), total yards allowed (3,491), and passing yards allowed (2,120). The defensive side of the ball has been the bright spot for a team that seems to continue heading in the wrong direction, especially given the way they started the 2021 turning heads.
Nevertheless, due to the way things have played out for the Panthers, they would be picking in the top-10 in the 2022 NFL draft. It’s still quite early to tell but if Carolina fails to turn things around to make a playoff bid, here is where they may be placing their focus come draft time.