Panthers Draft: Final grade for Carolina’s class of 2020
Now the dust has settled on the Carolina Panthers draft, we can now assess just how well the franchise did with their selections.
It proved to be an NFL Draft that will live long in the memory for the Carolina Panthers. The organization made some bold moves to become the first team in league history to use each of their selections on defense.
This was an area of significant need going into the draft. General manager Marty Hurney and new head coach Matt Rhule have made a real effort to go younger this offseason and build from the ground up. This was further reflected in the method in which they chose the newest members of the Panthers’ roster.
Former Auburn standout Derrick Brown was the No. 7 overall selection, which was projected by many draft experts during the evaluation process. There was some dismay among fans that the Panthers went with the defensive tackle over Clemson linebacker Isaiah Simmons, who slipped out of the top-five and was also available.
That should not detract from what a dominant presence Brown is on the defensive interior. He eats up space and is a formidable body to move off the block. Pairing him alongside Kawann Short in a 4-3 base defense is going to vastly improve a front that had severe difficulty stopping the run in 2019.
The Panthers also bolstered their pass-rush with the second-round pick of Penn State product Yetur Gross-Matos. He is an exceptionally gifted athlete who can operate either at defensive end or as a stand-up rusher from the outside linebacker position.
He has all the attributes a team is looking for when selecting someone that can get to the quarterback. Hurney was even considering moving back into the first round to secure his service. But he managed to fall into their lap at No. 38.
The Panthers did trade up into the second round to acquire safety Jeremy Chinn out of Southern Illinois. He is another that boasts some superb physical attributes and is going to be a tremendous asset to the defense when he fully develops his skill set.
Chinn is a physical hitter that has no trouble going down to the second level and assist in the run game. The prospect also covers well across the middle and will be a big help in this particular area.