4 linebacker draft prospects the Panthers should monitor in 2022

(Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports) Noah Sewell
(Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports) Noah Sewell /
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Carolina Panthers
(Ken Ruinard/The Greenville News via IMAGN Content Services) Trenton Simpson /

Carolina Panthers should monitor Trenton Simpson

Here is a fun fact: the Carolina Panthers have never drafted a player from Clemson in their history. Maybe that could change eight months from now.

While the Tigers struggled last season by their standards, their defense was spectacular and Trenton Simpson was a large part of that. Last season, the rising junior racked up 12 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks to announce himself on the national stage.

Simpson showed to be a force at and around the line of scrimmage in 2021. His film matches that in more ways than not.

At an estimated 6-foot-3 and 230 pounds, Simpson offers rare levels of athleticism for the position. This allows the former five-star recruit to play in multiple roles on defense and the ability to match up with slot receivers, tight ends, and running backs in man coverage.

Some have regarded Simpson as Isaiah Simmons 2.0 due to his elite athletic ability and versatility. However, the Charlotte. native shows to be more of an off-ball linebacker than a positionless second-level defender.

Simpson is expected to be the starting WILL linebacker this season for the Tigers. He is one of the best run defenders out there showing great discipline at the mesh point, getting under linemen and squeezing gaps, and setting a firm edge. His lone flaw here is that he could be better at taking better angles to the ball carrier.

There is no question that Simpson is one of the best linebackers in the country. If he continues to grow and improve, the prospect could be a prime candidate to be the first Tiger drafted by the Panthers.