5 defensive sleepers for the Carolina Panthers in 2021 free agency

(Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports) Jourdan Lewis
(Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports) Jourdan Lewis /
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Carolina Panthers
(Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports) Poona Ford /

Poona Ford – DT (RFA)

  • 2020 team – Seattle Seahawks

Nobody will know more about what Poona Ford can bring to the Carolina Panthers than general manager Scott Fitterer. He was part of the front office staff on the Seattle Seahawks that took a chance on the defensive tackle after he went undrafted out of Texas, which proved to be a masterstroke if his efforts in 2020 were any indication.

Although Ford is considered a little undersized for players at the position, he was a colossal presence on the interior in Seattle last season and provided a stout presence against the run, coming on leaps and bounds during his second season as a starter.

Such was Ford’s contribution, he received a lofty 81.9 grade from Pro Football Focus, which is a testament to the level of commitment he’s made to getting better.

Ford is only a restricted free agent, which means the ball remains in Seattle’s court when the undoubted interest comes his way in the coming weeks. The interior lineman’s skills seem to complement that which Derrick Brown brings to the table and this would give Carolina the perfect one-two combination that would provide a solid anchor on defense moving forward.

Acquiring Ford might not be cheap considering the Seahawks can match any offer and even put a tender on him to prevent him from leaving the organization. However, if the Panthers are looking to bolster this improving area then they could do far worse than look in his direction.