Ranking 5 biggest Carolina Panthers draft gems of the last decade

There have been a few hits from recent Carolina Panthers drafts.

Chuba Hubbard
Chuba Hubbard / Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
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3. James Bradberry

  • Cornerback | Samford Bulldogs
  • No. 62 overall | 2016 NFL Draft

James Bradberry was given a supreme task by the Carolina Panthers right out of the gate. The 2016 second-round selection filled the gaping void left by Josh Norman, who departed for Washington in free agency after securing All-Pro honors during the previous campaign. It wasn't easy, but he adjusted well and didn't look out of place whatsoever.

Bradberry didn't generate many turnovers during his time with the Panthers, but he was outstanding in coverage. His physicality got wide receivers off their routes quickly in press coverage and the Samford college product also had enough speed to track the football downfield with success.

Perhaps Bradberry was a bit underappreciated by fans. Despite giving up just 59.8 percent of targets and a 70.1 passer rating when targeted during what turned out to be his final season in Carolina, the new regime led by Matt Rhule decided that paying him accordingly on a long-term deal wasn't the smart thing to do.

A big-money switch to the New York Giants followed - where Bradberry made the Pro Bowl in his first season. Things unraveled quickly after that, leading to his release after two campaigns.

In fairness to the cornerback, he enjoyed a career renaissance with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2022, locking down one side of the field en route to 45.3 percent of targets conceded. If the Panthers had a chance to go back and make this decision again, Bradberry would be extended.