Panthers 2021 NFL Draft: 7-round all-defense mock draft

(Syndication: Tallahassee Democrat) Asante Samuel Jr.
(Syndication: Tallahassee Democrat) Asante Samuel Jr. /
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Carolina Panthers
(Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports) Greg Eisworth II /

Greg Eisworth II – S (Iowa State)

There could be changes at the safety position for the Carolina Panthers this offseason. Tre Boston’s lack of production has been a real disappointment after he deservedly received a long-term extension before the 2020 campaign and although free-agent signing Juston Burris has had some nice moments, his limitations are there for all to see.

Eisworth is a born leader that is a commanding presence both on the backend and at the second level in run support. He does need some brushing up in man coverage in order to make a go of things in the NFL, but the player’s attitude alone should ensure he’ll be coached up.

LaBryan Ray – DT (Alabama)

Some more depth on the defensive front is something that is necessary if this season is any indication. They do have a solid core in Derrick Brown, Zach Kerr, Bravvion Roy, and Jaylen Twyman in this scenario. But LaBryan Ray comes with a high upside and is well worth a late-round flier.

Ray projects a primarily run stopper at the next level even though he might not fill up the stat sheet. The Alabama prospect isn’t going to be anything more than a two-down threat at the next level. But he could back up Brown as he adjusts to the rigors of the NFL.

Tyreke Smith – EDGE (Ohio State)

Getting pressure has been a real problem for the Panthers this season outside of their stud edge rusher Brian Burns. Tyreke Smith has everything going for him in terms of physical attributes, even though he does appear to be a work in progress.

He can be used at outside linebacker or defensive end, with Smith also dropping back to help in coverage in the right fit. The Ohio State star is definitely raw, of that there is little doubt. But there is something to work with if Carolina opts to pick him as a project that isn’t expected to make an immediate contribution.