Panthers: How to Compete in a Division Stacked with Elite QB Play
The Carolina Panthers surely raised some eyebrows back in April by selecting seven players in the 2020 NFL Draft all of which play on the defensive side of the ball.
While this was a surprising strategy it is just what the doctor ordered for a team that gave up 470 points last season. That's an average of just about 30 points per game! Far too many to be able to win consistently in the NFL. Not to mention that Carolina lost possibly its' best defensive player in team history when All-Pro linebacker Luke Kuechly decided to call it a career this offseason.
The NFC South features surefire future Hall of Fame quarterbacks Tom Brady (Buccaneers) and Drew Brees (Saints). Former MVP Matt Ryan (Falcons) is no scrub either. How else could the Panthers hope to compete unless they were to add talented playmakers to their defense?
That's exactly what they've done. Defensive lineman and No. 7 overall pick Derrick Brown is going to clog up the interior line allowing Carolina's pass rushers to fly off the edge. Second-round pick Jeremy Chinn is a versatile player in the secondary who is penciled in as a starter. Both have stood out and impressed in camp.
Defensive end Yetur Gross-Matos and cornerback Troy Pride Jr. are also expected to greatly contribute in their rookie campaigns.
It is all starting to make sense now why the Panthers chose to strictly improve the defense in this year's draft. First-year head coach Matt Rhule is already living up to his reputation of being a great program builder before his team has even competed in a meaningful game.