With a 2021-22 season record of 5-12, the Carolina Panthers ranked at the bottom of the NFC South. Come draft time, the team may be focusing on a revamped offensive line to get back on track.
The Panthers’ offensive line has been lacking, to put it nicely, over the past decade or so, but last season was particularly rough. ESPN ranked it near the bottom of the entire NFL according to Kevin Burge of North Carolina.
Now, NFL media analyst Daniel Jeremiah tells “The Rich Eisen Show” that Carolina is “dead-set” on getting a stellar offensive lineman as their first-round draft pick. Contenders include Mississippi State’s Charles Cross, Alabama’s Evan Neal, and North Carolina State’s Ikem Ekwonu.
Head coach Matt Rhule is staying mum on the OL plans, only saying that the team will pick the best player available. Either way, look for the 2022 draft to be pivotal for the Panthers and Rhule’s display of leadership.
Shroff Named Play-By-Play Announcer
The Panthers have announced that Anish Shroff, who had been at ESPN since 2008, will be the team’s new radio play-by-play announcer.
Shroff has lived in Charlotte for more than a decade, as he works at ESPN’s studios in North Carolina. He has provided play-by-play for a range of college sports, including basketball, baseball, football, and lacrosse.
You may also know Shroff as a cast member of ESPN’s reality show “Dream Job,” in 2004.
Shroff’s family emigrated to the United States from India in the 1970s. He and his wife, Faye, have a 4-year-old daughter, Athena. He also has something in common with Panthers owner David Tepper — both are New Jersey natives.
TE Thomas Faces Charges
Tight end Ian Thomas, who recently signed a three-year extension with the Panthers, is facing five misdemeanor charges stemming from an incident last summer when he attempted to evade police on a dirt bike.
Thomas was arrested for not pulling over for police, operating an unregistered and uninsured dirt bike, and reckless driving after he drove away from a traffic stop in Huntersville, N.C., just north of Charlotte, according to police reports.
Thomas had signed a $16.95-million extension to avoid free agency in the offseason just three days before the incident was made public. The Panthers say they were notified of the incident soon after it occurred. Thomas was a fourth-round pick in 2018.
Panthers May Be Pursuing Quarterback Trades
The Carolina Panthers are among the many NFL teams considering offseason quarterback trades, according to Jeff Howe of The Athletic.
The other teams making major QB moves include the Washington Commanders, Pittsburgh Steelers, Indianapolis Colts, New Orleans Saints, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Howe describes the early QB digging as aggressive, especially for Washington.
Among the quarterbacks who may be on the market: Aaron Rodgers, Deshaun Watson, Jimmy Garoppolo, and Jameis Winston. In addition, Daniel Jeremiah also released his top 50 2022 draft prospects, and just four quarterbacks were on the list: Kenny Pickett (No. 28), Malik Wallis (No. 32), Matt Corral (No. 34), and Sam Howell (No. 47).