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Grading the Panthers 2020 Draft Class One Year Later

How did the Carolina Panthers do in last year's draft? We graded each player after their rookie season with the team.

The 2020 NFL Draft was the last draft for Marty Hurney as GM of the Carolina Panthers and although it wasn't the strongest from top to bottom, he did help the team land two foundation pieces on the defensive side of the ball. Today, we look at each pick from last year's draft and grade them on how they performed in 2020 and their potential moving forward.

RD 1, Pick 7 - DT Derrick Brown (Auburn)

Derrick Brown lived up to expectations as a rookie. You knew there would be moments where he would look like a first-year player but he limited that for the most part and became a key cog in the Panthers' defense. Carolina made it very clear that they wanted to build the defense from the inside out and after just one year it seems like they're off to a good start with Brown. He'll be named an All-Pro at least a couple of times before he decides to call it a career ten or so years down the road.

Grade: A+

RD 2, Pick 38 - DE Yetur Gross-Matos (Penn State)

I'm a little conflicted on what to grade Gross-Matos since he was only fully healthy for a handful of games. I'm going based off on potential and the flashes of brilliance he had and giving this pick a B-. There's still a chance he can develop into an elite pass rusher opposite of Brian Burns but right now, it's too early to tell.

Grade: B-

RD 2, Pick 64 - S Jeremy Chinn (Southern Illinois)

Former Panthers GM Marty Hurney was known for nailing his 1st round picks but it was the picks he made beyond the 1st round that would tend to fall apart. Well, he didn't miss on this one that's for sure. Chinn immediately became a playmaker for Carolina in the secondary and one could argue that he was the team's best defender aside from Brian Burns.

Grade: A+

RD 4, Pick 113 - CB Troy Pride Jr. (Notre Dame)

I questioned this pick a lot when it was made and I'm still scratching my head as to why this was the pick one year later. Don't get me wrong, Pride has a ton of speed and that alone can help a player make up for a mistake. That said, his coverage skills are average at best and with the moves that the Panthers made this offseason, it suggests that he will be buried on the depth chart in 2021.

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Grade: D

RD 5, Pick 152 - S Kenny Robinson (West Virginia)

Robinson was a ball-hawking in safety in college at West Virginia and then again in the XFL with the St. Louis BattleHawks. I'm not sure if he just doesn't fit with what Carolina is doing or if the coaching staff has more trust in the other options in the secondary. Most of his action last season came on special teams and he may fill a similar role in 2021. 

Grade: D

RD 6, Pick 184 - DT Bravvion Roy (Baylor)

For a 6th round pick, I thought Roy held his own at times and maybe overperformed. He stepped up once Kawann Short was ruled out for the season but will need to continue to make strides if he wants to continue seeing the field. Bringing in DaQuan Jones, Daviyon Nixon, and Phil Hoskins means that Roy won't be guaranteed the playing time he received last fall. 

Grade: B-

RD 7, Pick 221 - CB Stanley Thomas-Oliver III (Florida International)

It's hard for teams to hit on 7th rounders and I think it's safe to say the chances of Thomas-Oliver III panning out are very slim. He's still learning to play the corner position after having played wide receiver for part of his collegiate career. Like Pride Jr., he will be buried on the depth chart but for him, he may have a tough time securing a spot on the 53-man roster.

Grade: D

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