Where would Panthers 2020 class go in the 2021 NFL Draft?

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) Derrick Brown
(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) Derrick Brown /
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Carolina Panthers
(Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports) Derrick Brown /

Where would the 2020 NFL Draft class of the Carolina Panthers be selected in 2021 if teams knew then what they know now about the prospects?

It was a hugely successful 2020 NFL Draft overall for the Carolina Panthers. The organization made league history by becoming the first team to allocate every pick on the defensive side of the ball – something that should stand them in good stead moving forward if their early exploits in a professional environment are any indication.

What comes next for Matt Rhule and the Panthers will be equally as important. But they can be safe in the knowledge some top performers emerged from their college recruits last time out and if they can do the same later this month, it’s going to do their chances of entering the postseason picture a tremendous amount of good.

The draft process always comes with success and a couple of duds along the way. That is just the nature of the beast. The trick is to find the right sort of physical attributes coupled with strong character and a willingness to learn – something Carolina managed to do in the first year with Rhule’s input.

Scott Fitterer’s appointment is sure to add another boost to the draft process after some incredible success picking out talent during his time at the Seattle Seahawks. But knowing what we do now, where would the Panthers class of 2020 go in this year’s draft?

Draft Pick No. 1

Carolina Panthers
(Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports) Derrick Brown /

Derrick Brown – Carolina Panthers DT

  • 2021 NFL Draft placing – Top-10

There is going to be a strong run on offense early in the 2021 NFL Draft, but Derrick Brown would be in with a real shout of being the first defensive player to come off the board. The defensive tackle made incredible strides during his rookie season despite seeing more double-teams than almost any other interior lineman, which made the team’s decision to select him over Isaiah Simmons even more convincing.

Brown has a Pro Bowl ceiling and may even become an All-Pro one day when his outstanding skills are a little more refined. Having some strong pass-rushers around him in 2021 is certainly going to assist his cause. But the Panthers need a more stereotypical defensive tackle to put alongside him after Kawann Short and Zach Kerr were released ahead of time.

Looking at this year’s draft class, one could make an argument for Brown being the best defensive player in it and would be a top-10 pick despite the expected quarterback and wide receiver frenzy early on.