4 NFL Draft prospects for the Panthers to replace Zach Kerr in 2021
By Dean Jones
The Carolina Panthers could be on the lookout for defensive line depth in the 2021 NFL Draft following their surprise decision to release Zach Kerr.
One of the more surprising decisions made by the Carolina Panthers this offseason was the release of Zach Kerr. The defensive tackle did a tremendous job on a rotational basis in 2020 and considering the minimal financial savings involved, it did appear to be an odd move by the front office in the grand scheme of things.
The Panthers moved swiftly to strengthen their defensive front in free agency with the signings of Haason Reddick and Morgan Fox. This should ensure they are much more efficient getting after the quarterback in 2021 with the pieces already on the roster. But it might be worth bringing in an exciting college recruit via the NFL Draft to replace Kerr on the depth chart.
There are more obvious needs that Carolina should address first. The obvious cloud surrounding Teddy Bridgewater is there for all to see and they also need a franchise left tackle to protect the edge long-term with Russell Okung out of contract and unlikely to be brought back.
Carolina Panthers could get some DT value on day two.
With the being said, there does appear to be some good value in the mid-to-late rounds on the defensive line interior. General manager Scott Fitterer has a strong reputation for getting gems late in the draft from his time with the Seattle Seahawks and doing the same in Carolina will give the organization a significant boost.
Kerr’s energy and production will be missed. But here are four draft prospects who might just be capable of stepping in and filling the void.
Prospect No. 1
Marvin Wilson – Florida State
If the Carolina Panthers are looking for a dominant defensive tackle to put alongside Derrick Brown long-term, then someone like Marvin Wilson might come into the conversation on day two of the 2021 NFL Draft. The Florida State standout showed some real promise during his college career and although some fine-tuning is needed, there wouldn’t be much in the way of pressure on his shoulders immediately considering the options at Phil Snow’s disposal.
Wilson’s ability to generate interior pressure is eye-catching. His heavy hands and explosiveness should make a smooth transition to the pro ranks. If he can brush up on his run defense and bolster his physique, then someone is going to have a real player on their hands.
The prospect accumulated 15 tackles for loss and 9.5 sacks from 35 games with the Seminoles. Wilson is also familiar with stud defensive end Brian Burns, with the pair working closely together in 2018.