Round 2, No. 39: Kelee Ringo, DB, Georgia
The top-10 hype for Kelee Ringo has died down in recent months, with the Georgia defender even falling out of the first round in most mock draft articles at this point. While I agree Ringo is not a first-round prospect at cornerback, I believe he is well worth it as a safety.
The Panthers are more willing than others to bet on high-end traits, and the arrival of Frank Reich should only continue this trend. Ringo is a superb athlete, blending blazing speed in coverage with his thumper mentality in run support. For Carolina, Ringo can play all over the secondary. Imagine seeing Jeremy Chinn and Ringo roaming the secondary together.
Round 3, No. 93 (via SF): Chandler Zavala, OL, NC State
The Panthers have some promising pieces on the offensive line, including last year’s first-round pick, Ikem Ekwonu. Brady Christensen shows signs of being an above-average starter on the interior, and veteran Taylor Moton provides steady play at right tackle.
Bradley Bozeman re-signed to continue manning the center position, but the right guard spot is a major question mark. Austin Corbett tore his ACL in Week 18 and thus, will likely be unavailable to start the season. Cade Mays is an option to fill in until Corbett regains form, but the Panthers would be better off targeting a higher-upside option.
NC State’s Chandler Zavala is a local product that has improved his draft stock throughout the offseason. He showed off the best anchor in the 2023 NFL Draft at the Shrine Bowl, flexing his strength against an impressive group of pass rushers. As a run blocker, Zavala creates running lanes for his ball carriers and possesses the playing strength to bury his assignment in the dirt. He would fit perfectly with Richardson.