One cause for concern with every Carolina Panthers draft pick in 2024

Nobody's perfect. These are areas of concern for the new members of the Carolina Panthers.
Jonathon Brooks
Jonathon Brooks / Sara Diggins/American-Statesman / USA
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Carolina Panthers drafted Jaden Crumedy

  • Defensive Line | Mississippi State Bulldogs
  • Round No. 6 | No. 200 overall

Adding to the defensive front was a welcomed strategy for the Carolina Panthers. We all know how terrific Derrick Brown is, and I like the addition of A’Shawn Robinson in free agency. However, there was an opportunity to upgrade the middle of the defensive front.

Jaden Crumedy doesn’t exactly profile as a nose tackle, but he offers a solid upside of potential as a sixth-round pick.

Crumedy has a lot of experience. He played football at Mississippi State for five years. He has good size at 6-foot-4 and 301 pounds, along with 34-inch arms. That's always a solid footing to begin an NFL journey.

Have you ever seen the movie, Forrest Gump? I’m willing to bet most have, so when describing my concern for the former Bulldog at the next level, I’m reminded of the quote ‘Life is like a box of chocolates - you never know what you’re going to get’.

Consistency impeded raising his draft stock. Expect him to compete in camps, but keep the expectations realistic, knowing when he was drafted and that there’s the chance other players are waived by NFL teams that may be better depth options.

Carolina Panthers drafted Chau Smith-Wade

  • Cornerback | Washington State Cougars
  • Round No. 5 | No. 157 overall

As the draft got closer, there was a trail of smoke coming from South Mint Street insinuating the team could have interest in allocating a premium-round pick on a defensive back. They did not. They watched as well-regarded prospects lingered far past their projected target zones, and they continued to go in different directions.

Up until the fifth round, that is. Chau-Smith Wade is a tough case to crack. Measuring under 5-foot-10 and with 30 ¼’-inch arms, his physical composition would immediately bring you to label him as an inside/nickel corner.

Smith-Wade was in outside alignment on 1,360 of his 1,537 career defensive snaps at Washington State. He brings legit boundary traits with him, sans long speed, but that frame is a serious head-scratcher when trying to imagine him defending the bigger receivers in the NFL.

He also didn’t have a great deal of ball production, accruing just three interceptions over his collegiate career. Smith-Wade's aggressiveness will serve the special teams well, but the question will be where exactly he’s deployed on defense if he does crack the rotation.