Ranking the Panthers' Last 10 First-Round Picks, Worst to Best

Carolina has done a great job identifying talent in the first round over the years
Where does Bryce Young rank among Panthers' first-round picks over the last decade?
Where does Bryce Young rank among Panthers' first-round picks over the last decade? / Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
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6. WR Kelvin Benjamin (2014)

This may be too high for Kelvin Benjamin, who was traded to the Bills during his fourth season and quickly fizzled out of the league, but he was an effective weapon for QB Cam Newton and a dangerous red-zone threat early in his career.

In his rookie campaign, Benjamin had 1,008 receiving yards and nine TDs. After missing his sophomore season with a torn ACL, he returned with 941 receiving yards and another seven TDs. Those would be the two best seasons of his career and he'd be out of the NFL by 2019.

Even still, Benjamin's hot start and playoff contributions are worth celebrating. He had seven catches for 75 yards and a pair of TDs in the Divisional Round in 2014, though it's unfortunate his career didn't finish as promising as it started.

5. OLB Shaq Thompson (2015)

Shaq Thompson has played nine seasons with the Panthers and been a beacon of consistency, seemingly improving as he ages. He had a career-high 135 tackles in 2022 to finish four consecutive years with 100+ tackles, though injuries derailed his 2023 campaign.

For his career, Thompson has 717 tackles, 12 sacks, four forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries, and three interceptions in 119 games.

Alongside Derrick Brown (more on him soon), Thompson helps make up the foundation of Carolina's defense as they transition into this new era. Even if his best days are behind him, he was still a worthy first-round pick and will be remembered fondly in the Panthers fanbase.