Panthers 7-round 2023 NFL mock draft: Making moves in Round 1

(Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports) Isaiah Foskey
(Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports) Isaiah Foskey /
6 of 7
Carolina Panthers
(Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports) Sydney Brown /

Carolina Panthers select Sydney Brown

  • Safety | Illinois Fighting Illini

Do the Carolina Panthers have a true need for safety? No, they do not.

However, there is a chance Jeremy Chinn will be playing a lot more in the box than he has in the last couple of seasons in Ejiro Evero’s defensive scheme.

While I do not expect him to last this far in the draft, Sydney Brown is a playmaking and instinctual defensive back who can play in multiple roles on Carolina’s defense from the moment he steps onto an NFL field.

Brown was arguably the best player at the Senior Bowl not named Dawand Jones. He displayed excellent short-area quickness and fluidity in space to be able to transition with wide receivers in man coverage, providing the ability to be a potential starting nickel at the next level.

The Ontario native offers great functional athleticism and closing speed that allows him to play downhill and fill alleys while roaming the backend as a potential starting free safety. This is a big reason why he secured six interceptions for the Fighting Illini last season.

Brown can bring some pop in run support despite his lack of length and tackle radius. Even so, he’s a very smart football player who would be an immediate impact defensive back for Evero’s defense, which is expected to make significant strides under his leadership.