The Carolina Panthers have eight picks in the NFL Draft, including No. 8 in the first round April 27 in Philadelphia.
Super Bowl euphoria, even though it was a loss in the 2015 season, was followed by a fall from grace and a season where much went wrong. Notable was a disappointing performance from quarterback Cam Newton, who wasn't able to continue his rise from a MVP season. Injuries were a factor, but Newton will be under the microscope to turn things back in a better direction.
While running back Jonathan Stewart was signed to a new contract in the offseason, he has had injury questions since 2015 and his absence for much of the Super Bowl contributed to the loss. The Panthers need to get younger and more productive in the ground game to supplement Newton's skills.
There remains a strong foundation, and a healthy middle linebacker Luke Kuechly will be important as the Panthers will have the ability with a high pick in the first round to add to their talent.
Here is a look at the Panthers' five-year draft record with roster tallies reflecting totals as of the end of the 2016 season. Below that are key personnel moves made this year and the team's current needs heading into this draft and our projection for all their 2017 picks.
FIVE-YEAR DRAFT BREAKDOWN
. . . . . . . . . . . . . .2012 . .2013 . .2014 . .2015 . .2016
TOTAL PICKS . . . .7 . . . . . .5 . . . . .6 . . . . .5 . . . .5
STARTERS . . . . . .1 . . . . . .2 . . . . .3 . . . . .1 . . . .2
BACKUPS . . . . . .0 . . . . . .1 . . . . .1 . . . . .4 . . . .2
OTHER TEAMS . . .2 . . . . .1 . . . . .2 . . . . .0 . . . .1
OUT OF LEAGUE . .4 . . . . .1 . . . . .0 . . . . .0 . . .0
Top three draft needs
1. Running back: With the Panthers planning to take quarterback Cam Newton out of the run game, they need more than just the 30-year-old Jonathan Stewart in their backfield.
2. Tackle: Even after giving left tackle Matt Kalil big money, the Panthers' tackle situation isn't ideal. Michael Oher will slide to the right side, as long as he's cleared from a concussion that cost him 13 games in 2016.
Round and overall pick number listed, along with player, position, school, height, weight and 40-yard dash time. (* - indicates compensatory pick)
1/8: Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU (6-0, 228, 4.51)
2/40: Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan (6-6, 277, 4.85)
2/64: Zay Jones, WR, East Carolina (6-2, 201, 4.45)
3/*98: Roderick Johnson, OT, Florida State (6-7, 298, 4.89)
4/115: Michael Roberts, TE, Toledo (6-4, 270, 4.81)
5/152: Brian Allen, CB, Utah (6-3, 215, 4.43)
6/192: Montae Nicholson, S, Michigan State (6-2, 212, 4.42)
7/233: Freddie Stevenson, FB, Florida State (6-0, 234, 4.67)
Now it's your turn. NFLDraftScout.com is ready to help with its list of the top 1,000 prospects in this draft.
--Frank Cooney and TSX NFL team insiders contributed to this analysis.