After D'Eriq King went down with injury last season, Van Dyke ignited the Hurricanes' offense and put his name on the NFL radar. There are still a number of things NFL scouts want to see on film this upcoming season for him to be a first-rounder, but he has the potential to get there.
Ever since Luke Kuechly's retirement, the Panthers have been missing a true impact player at the second level of their defense. Sewell is big, athletic, and has all the potential to be worthy of a top-10 pick.
The former top recruit didn't have much to work with at Stanford in his first year as a starter last season. His footwork is tremendous in the pocket, but he is firmly a pocket passer. He'll need to take a step forward with his decision-making to get into the first-round conversation, but he has the talent to do so.
The Panthers wisely passed on a QB at the top of the '22 draft, bolstered the offensive line with Ickey Ekwonu, and were still able to get Matt Corral in Round 3. But the team also used a third-round pick on Will Grier a few years ago and he's no longer with the team. The point: We like Corral, and he may get a chance to play next season, but if the team loves any of the QBs in this class you'd have to think they'd target one.
If the Panthers are picking this high in the order then obviously Sam Darnold isn't the answer at quarterback--and neither is Matt Corral. Tyler Van Dyke was a revelation for the Hurricanes in 2021 and has the makings of an early selection at quarterback.
Even in a talented 2022 wide receiver class, we didn't see a pass catcher go quite this high. Smith-Njigba has the physical ability and well-rounded game to push into this kind of rarified air. Consider the fact that two of Smith-Njigba's teammates went in the early first round this year and this is the guy NFL teams are truly salivating over, and you start to get the picture. He's 6'0", around 200 lbs, a pristine and explosive route runner who can both take the top off the defense or utilize the big cushion defensive backs are forced to give him to be an electric playmaker after the catch.
After grabbing their left tackle of the future at the top of Round 1 in the 2022 NFL Draft, the Carolina Panthers grab their guard of the next decade in Emil Ekiyor Jr. The big man from Alabama stands tall, has a great anchor, and some of the best balance we've seen from an interior lineman in some time. Ekiyor does it all -- and does it all incredibly well.