The Carolina Panthers have a true stud in second-year safety Jeremy Chinn, but who might they target in the 2021 NFL Draft to pair with the up-and-coming star?
Jeremy Chinn burst onto the scene during the 2020 season for the Carolina Panthers, blowing apart everyone’s expectations en route to a strong case for Defensive Rookie of the Year. An accolade that, debatably, went to Chase Young of the Washington Football Team.
The Southern Illinois product seemed to always find the ball no matter how far away he was positioned at the snap, totaling a team-high 117 tackles. Showing amazing instincts in coverage and against the run, regularly seeming to make the right choice.
We can all remember his back-to-back defensive touchdowns against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 12, which was an NFL first and further proof of what a special talent he is.
While Chinn was used more like a linebacker last season, his more natural position is safety. With the offseason additions by the Panthers in free agency, all signs point toward him moving back into that role in 2021.
With the release of Tre Boston, the team looks to be starting a mixture of Juston Burris and Sam Franklin alongside Chinn. While Burris played well in his role last season, injuries limited him to only 13 games and Franklin had to step in, demonstrating potential but also showing a need for improvement.
Carolina Panthers need to get a talented safety during the NFL Draft.
As a result of the Panthers’ lack of positive movement at safety during free agency and having depth but no clear starter alongside Chinn, the team will be looking for a future running mate for their rising star in the draft.
But with more glaring needs, Carolina will look for this piece in the middle rounds of a draft deep in mid-tier players but without clear-cut stars at the position.
Chinn’s freakish skill set allows him to play linebacker as well as both safety positions so evaluating a partner can be difficult at points. So for the sake of this article, we will make the assumption he will be used in the strong safety role, which he can play up near the line and use his instincts against the run more freely.
So with that being said, let’s take a look at the top free safeties that may fall to the Panthers in the 2021 NFL Draft and rank them on our big board.