Carolina Panthers: Senior Bowl produces draft picks

(Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) Dennis Daley
(Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) Dennis Daley /

The Carolina Panthers have drafted five Senior Bowl participants in two years.

Each year collegiate prospects with dreams of making an NFL roster take the field in Mobile, Alabama at the Reese’s Senior Bowl. The unofficial start of scouting for general managers across the league, teams meet with players, observe practices and ultimately get to see how each performs in a game environment. Carolina Panthers general manager Marty Hurney is a veteran of the process, having served in his current role for fifteen years now.

With the NFL Draft still months away, it is in Mobile where players begin to either increase or decrease their stock. Depending on specific team needs, there may be players who surprise throughout the week and warrant following through the offseason process and upcoming NFL Combine.

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Two years ago the Panthers drafted two Senior Bowl participants. Tight end Ian Thomas and defensive end Marquis Haynes were both targeted during the week leading up to the game and eventually heard their names called on draft night. Both remain with the team and Thomas may be in for a considerably larger role in 2020 depending on what Greg Olsen decides about his future.

Last January, Hurney and the Panthers targeted three different participants who eventually joined the roster. Offensive tackle Dennis Daley, linebacker Christian Miller and quarterback Will Grier. Miller missed the game due to a hamstring injury but was still on site in order to meet with teams and it paid off. Each had ups and downs during their respective rookie seasons but all figure to be a part of the immediate future.

While first-round candidates may elect to skip these collegiate all-star games, hoping their film provides enough evidence of their potential, there will be plenty of possible mid-round selections performing throughout the week. If history holds true, a few will become Panthers this April.

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The 2020 Reese’s Senior Bowl kicks off on Saturday (1/25) at 2:30pm ET on NFL Network.