2024 NFL Draft Review: Carolina Panthers

Review of all 32 teams draft, with grades and UDFA signings. This time it’s the Carolina Panthers
Nov 18, 2023; Columbia, South Carolina, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks wide receiver Xavier Legette
Nov 18, 2023; Columbia, South Carolina, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks wide receiver Xavier Legette / Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

Previously we reviewed the Buffalo Bills draft selections, now it’s time to take a look at how the Carolina Panthers drafted and grade the picks. Which player was the best value and earned the team choice award, and who did the team sign during the undrafted free-agent period? Let’s break it all down.

1 (32): WR Xavier Legette, South Carolina

The Panthers started off their draft journey in 2024 trading up. Legette tripled the number of receptions he had last season than he did the previous two seasons combined. In this year’s draft class, he ranks fourth among wide receivers in yards-per-reception and has one of the fewest dropped passes (2). Receiver was a clear need for Carolina but trading up for a one-year wonder is risky. 

Xavier Legette
Clemson v South Carolina / Jacob Kupferman/GettyImages

Grade: B

2 (46): RB Jonathon Brooks, Texas

From one risk to another. Brooks didn’t just come in with the injury concerns with a late-season ACL injury, he was also a one-year wonder. In fact, he was less than a one-year wonder having only played as a starter for half a season. He’s very talented and what he was doing in Texas was impressive. But taking an injury risk in the second round who may not play till October or November time, is again risky. 

Jonathon Brooks, Siale Esera
BYU v Texas / Tim Warner/GettyImages

Grade: C+

3 (72): LB Trevin Wallace, Kentucky

Some will say this is a reach but honestly, he wasn’t been talked about enough. He has a big tackle radius but in the combine he cranked out a 40-yard time of 4.51s (93rd percentile), vertical of 37½" (84th percentile), and broad of 127” (92nd percentile). Sure the production is suspect but the guy is an athletic stud with plenty of room to develop. 

Trevin Wallace
Louisville v Kentucky / Andy Lyons/GettyImages

Grade: B+

4 (101): TE Ja’Tavion Sanders, Texas

The Panthers go back to Texas and take the second-best tight end in this year’s draft. Sander's fall in the draft can be attributed to his lack of ability to block, but as a move-tight end, he’s great. Looking beyond the lack of size and more toward his explosiveness, Sanders finished eighth among starting tight ends in receptions (45) last year in the FBS and third in receiving yards (682). His 15.2 yards-per-reception outproduced Brock Bowers last season. 

Ja'Tavion Sanders, Jake Clifton
Kansas State v Texas / Tim Warner/GettyImages

Grade: A-

(Team Choice Award)

5 (157): CB Chau Smith-Wade, Washington State

Cornerback was a need for Carolina and they waited patiently into the fifth round to get one. Smith-Wade projects better as a slot-corner given his smaller size and also how he’s a great lateral mover with fast feet. If the Panthers try to push him to play on the boundary then fans could see him struggle. 

Chau Smith-wade
Reese's Senior Bowl / Don Juan Moore/GettyImages

Grade: B-

6 (200): DL Jaden Crumedy, Mississippi State

Jaden isn’t going wow anyone with his ability to get to the quarterback, but as a rotational run stopper on this defensive front he will be just fine. His 10-yard split of 1.69s shows the lower body power he has and is very impressive. 

Jaden Crumedy
Mississippi State v Arkansas / Wesley Hitt/GettyImages

Grade: B

7 (240): LB Michael Barrett, Michigan

This pick was right on the money in terms of ranking. He lacks instincts in the run game and his tackling technique needs work to avoid unnecessary flags. But he’s good as a cover linebacker and did enough at this stage as a run defender to not get the defense killed.

Michael Barrett
Rose Bowl Game - Alabama v Michigan / Ryan Kang/GettyImages

Grade: B

UDFA Signings-

QB Jack Plummer, Louisville

RB Jaden Shirden, Monmouth

WR Sam Pinckney, Coastal Carolina

WR Jalen Coker, Holy Cross

C Andrew Raym, Oklahoma

OL Jeremiah Crawford, Tennessee

DL Popo Aumavae, Oregon

DE Derrick McLendon, Colorado

CB Willie Drew, Virginia State

DB Demani Richardson, Texas A&M

K Harrison Mevis, Missouri

Overall Grade: