Carolina Panthers: Matt Rhule makes statement with historic draft

(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) Matt Rhule
(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) Matt Rhule /
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Carolina Panthers coach Matt Rhule
(Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images) Matt Rhule /

The Carolina Panthers made a huge statement during the first two rounds of the NFL Draft, and this trend continued on day three.

Carolina Panthers’ head coach Matt Rhule made his intentions clear in no uncertain terms during the 2020 NFL Draft. A young, fresh approach ensured the franchise became the first in league history to spend every pick on the defensive side of the ball.

While there might still be holes at linebacker and the offensive line interior. There is no denying this represents a smart move from the Panthers’ front office and one that will stand them in good stead in the coming years.

Rhule and general manager Marty Hurney focused on the inside early on, before turning their attentions to a depleted secondary. They found some good value in the mid-to-late rounds that make for an exiting defense in 2020 and beyond.

The Panthers allocated considerable resources in free agency on offense thanks to the free-agent signings of quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and wide receiver Robby Anderson. They also extended All-Pro running back Christian McCaffrey to a four-year extension that makes him the highest-paid player at the position in NFL history.

While all this will be beneficial to their chances going forward. It left plenty of needs on the defensive side. This was something Carolina’s decision-makers were fully aware of and they acted accordingly with their seven picks.

What this gives the Panthers’ is a solid foundation from which to build for the future. They have a formidable defensive front that is up there with anything in the NFL. Add to this some speedy secondary players from the college system and there is plenty to like about how they went about their business over the three days.

It is clear that athleticism was a big factor when considering a draft pick this year from a Panthers’ perspective. The NFC South is going to possess some potent attacking options in 2020. But Carolina now at least has a fighting chance of staying competitive.