Potential sixth-round diamonds secured by the Carolina Panthers

(Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images) Deonte Brown
(Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images) Deonte Brown /

The Carolina Panthers bolstered their options with three sixth-round draft picks that arrive into the organization with a significant amount of upside.

One can only marvel at the way the Carolina Panthers are going about their business during the 2021 NFL Draft. General manager Scott Fitterer put on a clinic when it comes to maneuvering the draft board and making the moves needed to acquire more capital without compromising the team’s targets.

This saw a number of exciting college prospects come on board with a view to progressing the Panthers into possible postseason contention sooner rather than later. Much will depend on how quarterback Sam Darnold pans out following his trade from the New York Jets, but he could not be in a better position to succeed with so much talent around him.

Carolina had three picks in the sixth round after an unprecedented amount of trade activity from Fitterer and company, which also saw them acquire a fourth-rounder in 2022 they’re giving up in the Darnold deal.

Carolina Panthers get quality with their sixth-round trio.

The first of these was Deonte Brown, a mammoth interior offensive lineman out of Alabama who didn’t allow a single sack during his time with the Crimson Tide, according to Pro Football Focus.

There are some definite weight concerns to keep a close eye on where Brown is concerned. His pass protection also needs a little bit of work once he gets to the next level but in terms of value, this represents plenty of that with the guard expected to go within the first three rounds.

It also fits a need for Carolina, which is simply an added bonus at this juncture. And Brown might even be a plug-and-play starter with a smooth transition to a professional environment.

At No. 203, the Panthers went with another wide receiver in the form of Shi Smith, who played his college football at South Carolina and was a Senior Bowl standout during the early part of the week in Mobile before getting hurt.

Smith does his best work from the slot and is incredibly elusive. He gets open quickly and has the ball skills to match, so adding him and Terrace Marshall Jr. to a loaded wideout room is going to Darnold absolutely no excuses as the signal-caller looks to reignite his career in Carolina.

Rounding off Carolina’s sixth-round selections at No. 222 was a long snapper by the name of Thomas Fletcher out of Alabama, who will obviously be seen as a long-term replacement for the team’s longest-serving player, J.J. Jansen.

Passing on Justin Fields at No. 8 is something that could define this draft long-term for the Panthers. But from the moves made and the picks that came in, it’s hard to envisage a situation where things could have gone much better.

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There is still one more pick to go in the seventh round. But regardless of who they take, the Pathers have absolutely killed this draft and the front office deserves all the credit in the world for what they’ve managed to accomplish.