The Carolina Panthers are in a period of transition after not resigning QB Cam Newton and the retirement of LB Luke Kuechly. Things also changed in personnel with new head coach Matt Rhule. Let’s take a look at who the Panthers picked in the 2020 National Football League (NFL) Draft.
Round 1, Pick 7: Derrick Brown – DT – Auburn (6’5″, 326 lbs). Brown was the best defensive tackle in this draft. He always brings maximum effort, which results in disrupting offensive plays (12.5 tackles for loss, 4 sacks, 4 pass breakups, 2 caused fumbles last season). He will start immediately for Carolina.
Round 2, Pick 6: Yetur Gross-Matos – DE – Penn State (6’5″, 266 lbs). Gross-Matos causes pressure from the outside (15 tackles for loss, 9.5 sacks). He will definitely be in the pass rush rotation for the Panthers.
Round 2, Pick 32: Jeremy Chinn – S – Illinois State (6’3″, 221 lbs). Chinn will compete for a starting spot at strong safety. His size will allow for him to make plays in the middle of the field.
Round 4, Pick 7: Troy Pride – CB – Notre Dame (5’11”, 193 lbs). Pride adds depth that will definitely be needed in the NFC South.
Round 5, Pick 6: Kenny Robinson – S – West Virginia (6’2″, 198 lbs). Robinson played in the XFL for the five weeks that it lasted and grabbed two interceptions during that time. He looks to add depth to the free safety position.
Round 6, Pick 5: Dravvian Roy – DT – Baylor (6’1″, 332 lbs). Roy follows his college coach to Carolina. Roy has the versatility to be a run-stopper as well as a pass rusher (13 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks). He will add even more depth to the defensive line.
Round 7, Pick 7: Stanley Thomas-Oliver – CB – Florida International (6’0″, 192 lbs). His forte is breaking up passes (8 pass breakups last season). He will see time as a backup corner especially around the red zone against taller receivers.
Grade: Carolina had the first draft for any team in NFL history in which all of the players picked play defense. Defense had to be upgraded immediately due to their opponents in the division. All seven picks have the potential to make the team. It’s not flashy, but it is necessary. I give it a C+.