Following the 2020 NFL Draft, Carolina Panthers legendary receiver Steve Smith Sr. voiced his opinion on the Panthers draft class on the NFL Network. He was asked who he thought was the most improved team following the draft and call him biased or not, but he absolutely loved what his former team did.
"They addressed their offensive needs through free agency, and then what do they do? They take all seven of their picks in the draft and they get all defensive guys. And they're not just little defensive guys. Like Derrick Brown when you look at what he presents, he presents what they missed with Star [Lotulelei]. When Star departed to Buffalo, KK Short really suffered. He does a really good job of being explosive against man-to-man, Star was that guy that ate up a lot of those double teams. It's really going to be special to see how this develops under Matt Rhule, who is an offensive genius as well."
It's hard to disagree with any of what Smith Sr. said, but there are still some other areas of the roster that need filled, including some help on the interior offensive line.
But, since we are mainly talking about who the most improved team is following the draft, Smith hit the nail right on the head. Derrick Brown is arguably the third best player in the entire draft and fell into their lap at No. 7. Edge rusher Yetur Gross-Matos is a sack machine that many felt would go in round one and stayed on the board until the Panthers' second round pick. Not only did they rebuild the defensive front, but got some quality guys to add to the secondary such as safety Jeremy Chinn, corner Troy Pride Jr., and safety Kenny Robinson.
The defense is going to be an extremely young unit in 2020, but there is a lot of promise at every level. Expect the defense to still have their struggles in year one under Matt Rhule, but that big jump to becoming a legitimate defense could happen a lot sooner than most franchises anticipate during a rebuild.
What do you folks think? Is Carolina the most improved team following the 2020 NFL Draft? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below!
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