Do the Panthers have their sights set on Asante Samuel Jr.?

(Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images) Asante Samuel Jr.
(Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images) Asante Samuel Jr. /

With the NFL Draft a couple of weeks away, the Carolina Panthers could be in store for some stellar picks that may include cornerback Asante Samuel Jr.

So far this offseason, the Carolina Panthers have done a lot of work to their roster. In the last two months, the organization has filled many positions and set itself up for a good chance to bring in more talented recruits in the 2021 NFL Draft.

One player that the Panthers need to be looking at is Asante Samuel Jr. The cornerback could go at the end of the first round or beginning of the second, so the Panthers would have to be lucky or trade up to get him.

Samuel Jr. capped off his college career with a good junior season after proving he was a defensive threat as a sophomore. He finished this past campaign in 2020 with three interceptions, one forced fumble, two fumble recoveries, and six passes defended.

One of the prospect’s most impressive strengths is his ability to play excellent man-to-man defense. Samuel’s ability to provide consistent production enabled him to give up zero touchdowns during the 2020 season – a remarkable achievement and one that boosted his draft stock considerably.

Carolina Panthers have shown interest in Asante Samuel Jr.

His versatility to play solid zone defense is also an attractive trait that teams will love. Samuel is a smart player from good stock (his father was an All-Pro) who understands various route concepts; this gives him a huge advantage.

Moreover, one of the few weaknesses in Samuel’s game might be his size.

Samuel Jr. is listed at 5-foot-10, and he’s been targeted on many jump ball throws. His size has also hindered his ability to get off blocks. Luckily, the player’s vertical and strength can be significantly improved once he’s in the league.

In the past month, the Panthers have already had two virtual visits with the player. Carolina has already proved they are interested in him, which might indicate they’d be willing to move up in the draft in order to secure his services.

While the Panthers have already signed two veteran corners this offseason, the team will still need depth moving forward. Currently, A.J. Bouye is set to miss the first two games of the season due to a suspension that he picked up toward the end of the campaign.

As of late, Florida State has produced some great cornerbacks. Prolific NFL players such as Jalen Ramsey, Xavier Rhodes, Patrick Robinson, and Ronald Darby have come from the school. All of those were taken in the second round or lower, so Samuel Jr. would be joining a great group of Seminoles’ alumni who’ve made it big in the NFL.

The Panthers will need someone to help in the secondary while Bouye is out, and Samuel Jr. will be the perfect long-term option because of his age. It wouldn’t be a surprise if Carolina snatches the exciting prospect if he’s still available at the end of the first round with a trade-up.