CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WGHP) — The Carolina Panthers just made a seismic trade for the number one overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft to select their quarterback of the future.
Of course, with anything in life, you have to give up something to gain something. The Panthers did just that by trading star wide receiver DJ Moore along with numerous draft picks to the Chicago Bears in exchange for the pick.
Now in spite of the excitement that the prospect of a franchise quarterback brings to the Panthers, they now have a hole at the receiver position that needs to be addressed.
Here are some ways the Panthers could go about addressing the need.
Trading for another star
One option available to the Panthers is another trade to bring in a star wideout to fill the void Moore leaves behind.
The most obvious fit for this scenario is Arizona Cardinals wide receiver, DeAndre Hopkins.
Rumors have been circulating all offseason that the Cardinals could look to move off of the veteran wideout who is considered to be among the best in the league at his position.
Hopkins himself addressed the rumors on the Pat McAfee show earlier in March.
Hopkins is a five-time All-Pro selection with over 10,000 career receiving yards.
Being traded to Carolina would also be a homecoming for Hopkins who was born in Central, South Carolina and attended Clemson University.
The next option the Panthers have available to address their need at the wide receiver position is free agency.
Players who are free agents can negotiate a contract directly with the Panthers and join the team without their former team having to be compensated by Carolina. However, these players while good contributors lack the upside of a star like Hopkins or Moore.
Joe Person of the Athletic has already reported that the Panthers could be interested in signing Mecole Hardman, a speedy wide receiver who just won the Super Bowl with the Kansas City Chiefs.
Another option available to the Panthers also includes Jakobi Meyers, an NC State alum who has started for the New England Patriots for the last few seasons.
A few other names to keep an eye on are Adam Thielen, a two-time Pro Bowler and longtime veteran with Minnesota Vikings who was just released by his former team, Juju Smith Schuster, who started for the Chiefs in the Super Bowl, and DJ Chark who played for the Lions and thus has a connection with new Panthers running backs coach Duce Staley.
The NFL Draft
Lastly, the Panthers were able to maintain possession of their own second round pick in the trade with the Bears.
Historically, very high-quality wide receiver prospects are available in the area the Panthers will be making their next selection after the number one pick.
A name to keep an eye on is Ohio State’s Jaxon Smith-Njigba, especially if the Panthers select CJ Stroud with the first pick given the rapport the two had as college teammates.
Another option that should be available to the Panthers with their second round pick is a local player in North Carolina’s Josh Downs.
Boston College’s Zay Flowers, LSU’s Kayshon Boutte, USC’s Jordan Addison and Tennesse’s Jalin Hyatt are also a few prospects the Panthers could be interested in during the draft.
Also, watch out for Wake Forest’s AT Perry as a candidate to be selected in the later rounds.