Monday, May 16, 2022

Carolina Panthers Post-Draft NFL Power Rankings Roundup

Throughout the 2022 NFL season, we will compile a consensus NFL Power Rankings that averages the rankings of all 32 NFL teams.

Here is where the Carolina Panthers rank in terms of average, best and worst:

  • Average ranking: 28.4 (30th)
  • Best ranking: 25 (
  • Worst ranking: 32 (ESPN)

Below you will find a post-NFL Draft roundup for the Panthers in our consensus 2022 NFL Power Rankings.

ESPN -- Rank: 32

Player who benefited most from draft: QB Sam Darnold

This could go either way. Darnold benefited in that Carolina made left tackle Ikem Ekwonu the sixth pick, strengthening an already rebuilt line that gave up 52 sacks a year ago. Darnold is best when not under pressure. At the same time, the Panthers traded back into the third round for Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral, who will become the fan favorite to start if Darnold falls back into habits that have haunted him through his first four NFL seasons. This is Darnold's job, but only as long as he produces. -- David Newton -- Rank: 32

Good for the Panthers. As the results of the draft confirmed, talent evaluators had no affection for this class of quarterbacks, so credit Carolina brass for resisting the temptation to fit a square peg into a round hole with the sixth overall pick. The Panthers instead focused on another glaring weakness at that spot, selecting Ikem Ekwonu, a tackle with All-Pro potential. With one sensible move in the can, the Panthers made another by stopping Matt Corral's slide late in the third round. Barring a move that brings a veteran to town (Baker Mayfield? Jimmy Garoppolo?), Carolina could be ready to bite down hard and give Sam Darnold one more chance. If he flops, the team has the window to give the intriguing rookie from Ole Miss an early look.

CBS Sports -- Rank: 25

There is talk they could still make a move to land Baker Mayfield, but for now it's Sam Darnold again as their starter. They did draft Matt Corral, but this team isn't talented enough.

USA Today -- Rank: 27

With their skill players healthy and first-round LT Ickey Ekwonu stabilizing the offensive line ... Darnold and, very possibly, coach Matt Rhule are pretty much out of excuses when it comes to achieving forward progress.

The Athletic -- Rank: 30

Carolina entered this offseason seemingly desperate to make yet another change at quarterback. But after missing out on Deshaun Watson and waiting until the third round to draft Matt Corral, it appears the Panthers will start next season with Sam Darnold. Best case-scenario, then, is that Darnold will play better than he did last season thanks to a healthy Christian McCaffrey and the addition of first-round tackle Ikem Ekwonu. But even then, our panel isn't high on the Panthers' chances.

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