The 2020 NFL Draft is officially in the books and the Carolina Panthers are had a really solid first draft under new head coach, Matt Rhule. Just how solid was this year's class? Below we take a more in-depth look on each pick that has been made through the first three rounds.
RD 1, Pick 7: DL Derrick Brown: A+
At first, I thought that the Panthers made a mistake by passing up on linebacker Isaiah Simmons, but they were able to get a guy similar to him late in the 2nd round in Jeremy Chinn. So with that said, I had to give the best grade possible because Brown fills a huge hole on the defensive line and should be an impact player right away. You plug in his tape and you'll quickly become impressed.
RD 2, Pick 38: EDGE Yetur Gross-Matos: B+
The Panthers get a first round talent in the early portion of the 2nd round, making this an easy selection for them. Gross-Matos is a natural pass rusher and will make his presence felt day one in a Panther uniform. "YGM" is a perfect counterpart to Brian Burns, giving the Panthers two elite pass rushers that will wreak havoc in a backfield near you.
RD 2, Pick 64: S Jeremy Chinn: A-
My goodness, did the Panthers just commit highway thievery. They traded backup quarterback Kyle Allen a few weeks ago in exchange for a fifth round pick. They threw in that fifth round pick and a third round pick in a trade to Seattle to land Jeremy Chinn in the second. So yes, ultimately the Panthers traded away Kyle Allen for a second round pick. Not a bad deal at all. As for the player, Chinn is an extremely versatile player that can lineup all over the secondary. He has great size (6'3" 220-pounds), which makes a lot of scouts think of him the same way as Isaiah Simmons. He's got a lot to prove, but Chinn could end up being an absolute steal.
RD 4, Pick 113: CB Troy Pride Jr: B-
Pride has to become a more consistent tackler and needs to continue to develop his footwork. He's extremely fast and athletic which helps him recover from his mistakes and hides some of his deficiencies . Nonetheless, this is a solid pickup for the Panthers secondary.
RD 5, Pick 152: S Kenny Robinson: B
There's no doubt about it, had Robinson played one more year at West Virginia, he would have certainly been a day two pick. Instead, he left for the XFL after being expelled from the university for academic fraud. He has since owned up to his mistake and has learned from it. As a player, he is everything you want in a safety. Great hands, great beat on the ball and can lay the wood over the middle of the field.
RD 6, Pick 184: DL Bravvion Roy: C+
Roy is an unknown commodity for much of the NFL fanbase as he really didn't break out until this past season. Is this just a one year anomaly for him or is it a sign of what is to come? Having guys like Derrick Brown and Kawann Short around should help polish his game.
RD 7, PIck 221: CB Stanley Thomas-Oliver III: C-
This was a risky pick in the seventh round, but if you're going to take a risk, this is the best round to do it in. Thomas-Oliver III switched from wide receiver to corner in 2018 and earned 2nd Team All-Conference USA in 2019. The Panthers needed to bolster their secondary and they did exactly that in the few picks prior. Little surprising they didn't look at a proven offensive lineman or tight end here.
Carolina did a beautiful job of filling their major needs and that is rebuilding the defense. The Panthers defensive front now has Brian Burns, Yetur Gross-Matos, Kawann Short and Derrick Brown. That's a defense that all of a sudden has a much better ring to it. They still have a long way to go, but GM Marty Hurney and head coach Matt Rhule have done an excellent job of identifying their needs and addressing them.
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