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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2. EDGE Brian Burns (2019)

Even though the Panthers missed their best opportunity to get a large haul in a trade, Brian Burns was still one of the NFL's premier pass rushers in his time with the organization. He was a steal at the No. 16 overall pick in 2019 and spent five years as one of the NFC's most elite defenders.

Over those five seasons, Burns compiled 246 tackles, 46 sacks, 13 deflected passes, and eight forced fumbles, earning two Pro Bowl nods along the way. That the Panthers bungled trading him doesn't take away from his effectiveness, and Burns is a sparkling example of finding a game-changing defensive player in the middle of the first round.

He'll now play for the Giants on a massive new contract extension, but Burns will be remembered as the best Panthers defender in recent years.

1. RB Christian McCaffrey (2017)

The only player on this list, at this point, with a legitimate path to the NFL Hall of Fame is Christian McCaffrey. He's unanimously considered the league's best RB and even finished third in MVP voting, albeit with the San Francisco 49ers.

A three-time All-Pro and the reigning Offensive Player of the Year, McCaffrey notably had over 1,000 rushing and receiving yards in 2019 with the Panthers, adding 19 total TDs in one of the most remarkable seasons by any RB in NFL history.

It's unfortunate that McCaffrey's spectacular individual efforts didn't lead to playoff success, but he was still the best first-round pick of the last 10 years from the organization.

He was traded during his sixth season with Carolina, but as a Panther, McCaffrey had 3,980 rushing yards and 390 catches for 3,292 receiving yards with 50 total TDs. The former Stanford star was a bright spot during a disappointing time for Panthers fans, but he was always one of the league's best at his position.

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