With the Carolina Panthers sitting at 4-8 and the season all but over with, it is time for them to start looking ahead towards the 2017 NFL Draft in April. Currently, based on record, the Panthers would draft seventh. Behind the (1) Cleveland Browns (2) San Francisco 49ers (3) Jacksonville Jaguars (4/5) Chicago Bears (4/5) New York Jets and (6) Los Angeles Rams. Now with four games remaining that spot could rise or fall a few spots, but can't go any higher than the number three pick, and in order for that to happen the Panthers would have to finish 4-12 and the Jaguars, Bears, Jets and Rams would all need to win all of their remaining games, which is very unlikely. With a surge at the end of the year the Panthers could fall out of the top 10 draft picks, but I don't expect that to happen either. So expect the Panthers to draft somewhere between number 6 and 9.
Based on that who would be available? Well first look at the Panthers needs. Offensive Tackle is a huge need. Alabama OT Cam Robinson would probably be available to the Panthers when they select, so he could be a guy to watch. Defensive End is also a position of need for the Panthers. Texas A&M DE Myles Garrett is one of the absolutely best defensive players in college football this year and would be a great fit for the Panthers, I'm just not sure that he will fall far enough for the Panthers to take him, but if he does, the Panthers shouldn't even think twice about him. Also watch DE Jonathan Allen out of Alabama as well who has put together a very solid 2016 season. If the Panthers are serious about getting better on defense, which they must do, they will take a very long look at Michigan all everything defensive star (SS/LB/DE) Jabrill Peppers.
So there are plenty of options for the Panthers in the first round to make this team better, it's just a matter of who will be there between picks 6 and 9.
Looking further down the draft expect the Panthers to target running backs, offensive linemen, safeties and cornerbacks.