3 sleeper prospects for Panthers to target in 2023 NFL Draft

Following the Carolina Panthers move to trade up to the first overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, the team is looking to turn things around quickly. With a new coaching staff led by Frank Reich, the team is looking to compete sooner rather than later.

The Panthers headed into free agency looking to address several major needs with reliable playmakers. This included bringing in players such as running back Miles Sanders, tight end Hayden Hurst, and wide receivers Adam Thielen and DJ Chark

With the first overall pick, the Panthers will look to add their quarterback of the future. While it is unclear if it will be Florida’s Anthony Richardson, Ohio State’s CJ Stroud, or Alabama’s Bryce Young, it is all but guaranteed that the position will be addressed.

Following this move, the team will address several other major needs. With just six total selections in the 2023 NFL Draft, the Panthers will have to look for potential stars in the later rounds. But in a draft class such as this, there will be talent to be found, even on day three.

With that being said, here are three sleeper players the Panthers could target in the 2023 NFL Draft.

Charlie Jones, Wide Receiver, Purdue

With the decision to include DJ Moore in the trade to move up to first overall, the Panthers could look to add to the wide receiver room. By adding Chark and Thielen, the team could in turn address the position in the later rounds of the draft. If that is the case, Purdue’s Charlie Jones could be a potential option.

In his lone season at Purdue, Jones underwent a true breakout season. Over 13 games, he recorded 110 receptions for 1,361 receiving yards and 12 total touchdowns. His production in his final season was more than he had in all of his other years combined.

Jones found success in 2022 through his route running, and overall ability to get open. His ability to separate from defenders made him a go-to target in the Boilermakers’ offense.

Along with his production at wide receiver, Jones has also proven himself to be a capable return man. Over his career, he has spent time returning both punts and kicks. On 77 career punt returns, he has recorded 622 yards and one touchdown. On 45 career kick returns, he has recorded 1,002 yards and one touchdown. With this ability, he could also help elevate the Panthers special teams.

If the Panthers are looking to add a depth piece that could develop into a true offensive option, Jones could be the pick, especially on day three.

Garrett Williams, Cornerback, Syracuse

The Panthers have made a clear effort to put together a strong defense. With building blocks in Derrick Brown, Brian Burns, Yetur Gross-Matos, Jeremy Chinn, CJ Henderson, and Jaycee Horn, the group already has an elite upside. With the addition of Vonn Bell, this unit has the potential to be elite. But if they are looking to solidify the unit, help could still be brought in. Syracuse cornerback Garrett Williams is a player that could be on their radar.

During his three seasons, Williams appeared headed for stardom at cornerback. While appearing in 28 total games, he recorded 115 solo tackles, 152 total tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss, 21 defended passes, four interceptions, and one forced fumble.

In 2022, Williams was on pace for arguably his best season yet. Over seven games, he recorded 25 solo tackles, 36 total tackles, 1.5 tackles for losses, one sack, three defended passes and two interceptions. Unfortunately, a torn ACL ended his season early.

Now with Williams still working back to the field, he has not taken the field throughout the draft cycle. In turn, he could see his stock slightly drop, but this doesn’t mean that Williams won’t be elite at the next level.

Based on what he showed while at Syracuse, Williams has the potential to develop into a lockdown cornerback. According to PFF, he allowed just 14 receptions for 253 receiving yards and one touchdown during 2022.

If the Panthers are looking to add another elite option to an already-loaded secondary, Williams could be the pick. Given the talent already in the room, he could also take him time to adjust to the NFL game.

Jayden Reed, Wide Receiver, Michigan State

Another potential wide receiver option for the Panthers could be Michigan State’s, Jayden Reed.

Reed, who spent time at both Western Michigan and Michigan State during his collegiate career, found success at both stops. In his lone season at Western Michigan, he recorded 56 receptions for 797 receiving yards and eight touchdowns.

Following a transfer to Michigan State, Reed put together three strong seasons for the Spartans. Over 31 games, he recorded 147 receptions for 2,069 receiving yards and 18 touchdowns.

In addition to his work done at wide receiver, Reed also spent time returning kicks while in college. On 38 career punt returns, he has recorded 581 yards and three touchdowns.

From a pass-catching aspect, Reed has found success while moving around the offense. With his route running and speed, he is a threat to make plays all over the field. With his addition, the Panthers could gain a wide receiver who can help stretch the field. He also can make plays after the catch. Even if Carolina adds a wide receiver in the earlier rounds, Reed could still be a solid addition to the offense.

The post 3 sleeper prospects for Panthers to target in 2023 NFL Draft appeared first on ClutchPoints.

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