Carolina Panthers top three draft steals of all-time

(Photo by Craig Jones/Getty Images) Mike Minter
(Photo by Craig Jones/Getty Images) Mike Minter /
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Pittsburgh Steelers v Carolina Panthers
CHARLOTTE, NC – SEPTEMBER 1: Safety Mike Minter #5 of the Carolina Panthers looks on as he walks on the field during a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Bank of America Stadium on September 1, 2005 in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Steelers won 21-17. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) /

Mike Minter

Mike Minter may seem like a strange name to put on the list, but when you’re third in franchise history in tackles, you certainly deserve a spot here. Playing for the Carolina Panthers from the 1997 season until 2006, Mike Minter was a staple of the Carolina Panthers defense for many years. He was as dependable as they come, playing in 148 games and starting in 141 of them. With 17 interceptions, that puts him third in franchise history in that category.

His best year came in the 2002 season. That year as a strong safety, he played in 16 games starting all of them. Recording four interceptions for 125 yards and returning one for a touchdown, he was a ball hawk in every sense of the word. Recovering a fumble, recording a sack, and tallying 86 tackles, he truly did it all. Not to be forgotten are his 2000 and 2003 seasons as well.

At the start of the new century, he welcomed it in in grand fashion. Recording 116 tackles, he showed a different side of him then we were normally accustomed to seeing. He proved he could be a hard-hitter as well. In 2003, he returned two interceptions four touchdowns to lead the league. On the year, he had three in total for a cumulative return of 100 yards. Two of which he returned for touchdowns, that led the league that season.

Drafted in the second round with the 56th overall pick, this was truly a steal for the Carolina Panthers. Minter provided them with a player who was not afraid to go up and make plays. The Carolina Panthers have struggled to find a physical corner in recent years, although Donte Jackson might be the answer.