Panthers full 7-round mock draft after Sam Darnold trade

(Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold
(Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold /
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Carolina Panthers
(Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images) Ifeatu Melifonwu /

Round No. 3 (Pick No. 73)

Ifeatu Melifonwu – CB (Syracuse)

The Carolina Panthers need some assistance at cornerback, which they might address earlier than this depending on how the 2021 NFL Draft plays out. They need a more stable presence covering opposite Donte Jackson on the outside and although they did acquire A.J. Bouye this week, someone like Ifeatu Melifonwu definitely fits the bill if the opportunity arises.

Melifonwu has everything head coach Matt Rhule looks for in a college recruit if last season’s selections are any indication. He is big for a cornerback, has exceptional length and athleticism, with his physical style of play fitting the mold of how Phil Snow’s defense goes about their business.

The Syracuse standout needs to work a little bit on his route anticipation. But he will never be found wanting for effort and Melifonwu’s willingness to assist on running downs is another big eye-catcher on tape that is going to help his cause.

Round No. 3 (Pick No. 96)

Jamar Johnson – S (Indiana)

The Carolina Panthers struck gold last year when they selected a defensive playmaker in Jeremy Chinn, who turned out to be a rookie sensation that was consistent and dynamic in equal measure. Although Jamar Johnson might not have his size, he is also a hybrid-type safety that is versatile enough to play on the backend or cover in the slot thanks to some impressive physical attributes.

Johnson never caught fire at Indiana right away. He had to work hard for a starting role and this is reflected in outstanding effort on almost every down – taking absolutely nothing for granted.

His instincts, ability to create turnovers and football IQ ensure someone will take a chance on him on Day 2 and the Panthers would be wise to look in his direction after the success they had with Chinn in 2020.