The Carolina Panthers are slowly but surely filling out their roster for the year. Last night the team announced that they have agreed to terms with veteran cornerback A.J. Bouye.
Bouye will turn 30 years old before next season begins and his career probably peaked in 2017 when he made the Pro Bowl with the Jaguars. He’ll also miss the first two games of the year due to a PED suspension. As long as they were in the market for an older corner we would have much preferred Richard Sherman for that role. Still, Bouye is likely far cheaper than acquiring Sherman would have been and the Panthers did fill what was arguably their biggest hole on defense.
There are other reasons to like this move, as well. For one thing, it gives them more freedom in regards to which direction they can go with the No. 8 overall pick in the 201 NFL draft.
In the last week they’ve traded for a new starting quarterback in Sam Darnold and brought in Bouye, addressing at least two critical positions that might have required a first-round pick to get a solution at. A quarterback shouldn’t be off the table, but the Darnold trade makes it far less likely they’ll use their first-round pick on that spot. Bouye all but guarantees they won’t draft a corner until the later rounds.
That gives coach Matt Rhule and GM Scott Fitterer more flexibility.
In our opinion, the pick should go to whoever the best left tackle available is. Hopefully it will be Oregon’s Penei Sewell, the top prospect in this class and a good candidate to drop to No. 8 as a result of the projected QB-frenzy in the top five. It might also be Northwestern’s Rashawn Slater, who doesn’t have the size of an NFL tackle but has the technique to thrive.
Going best player available is always a popular path though, especially in the first round of the draft.
Even with a massive problem at left tackle and questions at free safety and defensive tackle, Carolina might decide that’s the route to go to maximize their value.