• Connor Smith

Panthers 2020 NFL Draft Review

Panthers 2020 NFL Draft Review

Connor Smith

Overview: The Panthers are creating a whole new monster in Carolina with the beautiful hire of Matt Rhule. A hire that if you can’t tell, I love. Rhule was a great coach at Baylor who is going to use Christian McCaffrey so well. Rhule has always had a great offense when with Baylor. Yes, that was partly caused by his team playing in the BIG 12. Here’s the thing, Rhule has a pretty good defense relative to other BIG 12 schools. Rhule began his first campaign as the Panthers coach by showing all of us what his focus was. He went heavy on defense with some picks that by projections, were reaches, but really look like great picks when viewing their entire draft.

Pick 7

Derrick Brown: When this pick happened I thought the Panthers missed. I had to step back and realize that the player I liked more for them, Isaiah Simmons, is a player that fits way better on an established team that can have him play anything that is needed. The Panthers are not that type of team. The Panthers are rebuilding their defense and their D-line was a need and that was obvious throughout the draft. Derrick Brown is a monster. He’s a massive human being who is still fast enough to blow past lineman. Brown should have a massive impact on this new look Rhule defense.

Grade: A

Pick 38

Yetur Gross-Matos: I love this pick. It wasn’t like the Panthers did much other than let him fall to them but I had Gross-Matos going in the late first round. I really like his production at Penn State and I love his physical build. He’s not going to get beat physically much. That being said he needs to get more physical. He obviously knows how to be but he can be inconsistent with it. Sometimes he almost plays like he doesn’t know how big he is. That’s not the worst problem to have though which is why he went 38 and in my mind that was a fall.

Grade: A

Pick 64

Jeremy Chinn: I thought by now the Panthers would have already gone Corner but they were obviously dedicated to building their defense from the inside. They needed a safety and a true tough corner. They got a freak athlete who is absolutely physically gifted with this pick. Chinn is 6’3” and ran a 4.45 40. Another good pick to build a defense that should be pretty damn good in a few years.

Grade: B+

Pick 113

Troy Pride Jr.: While Pride isn’t massive, he is 5’11 which is fine for a corner but he ran a 4.40 40 at the combine. He could be a lockdown corner who was found in the 4th round in a draft full of assumed lockdown corners. Pride is another speedy secondary player for a new defense that looks to be full of talent.

Grade: B+

Pick 152

Kenny Robinson: Here’s an interesting one. If you know about Kenny Robinson then you know where he came from. He was the #1 safety in college football for 2017 and 2018. In 2019 he was expelled from West Virginia after an academic violation. He then played for the new XFL for the 5 weeks it survived. He had 2 picks on 8 passes his way. If I’m being honest here, the fact that Robinson fell to 152 is crazy. He was the best safety in football for 2 years. I understand the academic violation is a possible deterrent for teams but from what has been said, he is a very high character person and player and might be another steal.

Grade: A+

Pick 184

Bravvion Roy: Rhule left Baylor and it was expected that he would take at least one of his former players in the draft. The 6th straight defensive player is a relative project. He’s a massive human being at 6’1” and 332. He supposedly ran a 4.49 40 last year and that is crazy to me. Roy helped Rhule turn the Bears all the way around and Rhule seems to believe he can do the same for the Panthers.

Grade: B-

Pick 221

Stanley Thomas-Oliver III: Are you ready for this fact. The 2020 Panthers are the first team in modern NFL history to spend all 7 picks on defenders. The 7th pick was used on a 6’0” 198 corner with 4.48 40 speed. Started school as a receiver and switched to a corner his sophomore year. He’s obviously still learning the position but he has great physical attributes and can learn. The Rhule staff taught at Baylor and made them a College Playoff type team. They are hoping they can do the same here. It’s a worthwhile risk in my mind with a 7th round pick.

Grade: B+


While the Panthers offense was pretty built in free agency, I would’ve liked to maybe see an offensive player picked. I think the Panthers picked some of the best defenders on the board when they were up. They took good risks and I trust Rhule to teach those risks how to play. Rhule did it for Baylor and it’s very possible he does it for Carolina too.

Best Pick: I just love the Kenny Robinson pick. I think it’s going to be an absolute steal. He was amazing in college and even better in a league that was full of better players than he was playing while at West Virginia. He is going to be a really good safety for a completely rebuilt defense.

Worst Pick: This was a good freaking draft for the Panthers, I want to say that before I say this. That being said, the Bravvion Roy pick was my least favorite. He could easily turn into a very impactful player but I just think he is a massive project and I am scared he won’t ever pan out.

Overall Grade: B+