The 2021 NFL Draft is in the books. 259 players now have new homes. Almost assuredly, every team got every player they wanted exactly when they wanted to.
However, we are going to look at them through the prism of the way I thought they did. Did a team reach? Did they get a steal? How did that trade work out? Over the course of the next few weeks, I will recap every team’s draft class. Some will be solely be written word. Some will be accompanied by a video from the Deep Fried Draft YouTube channel with an expert from that team talking about their class.
Today, we look at the Carolina Panthers.
PANTHERS DRAFT CLASS
|1||8||CB||Jaycee Horn||South Carolina|
|3||83||TE||Tommy Tremble||Notre Dame|
|4||126||RB||Chuba Hubbard||Oklahoma State|
|6||204||WR||Shi Smith||South Carolina|
In 2020, the Carolina Panthers used every draft pick on defense. They showed improvement on that side of the ball in Matt Rhule’s first season at the helm. Now, they have made the move to acquire Sam Darnold. Carolina hopes that under the tutelage of OC Joe Brady, Darnold’s promise at Southern Cal can re-emerge.
With their first pick, they stayed with the defensive side of the ball. Jaycee Horn was the top man coverage corner available in this class. He has the athleticism, length, and ball skills to be a future All-Pro.
Reuniting with his collegiate offensive coordinator is LSU WR Terrance Marshall. Marshall was highly productive as a slot receiver in 2019 while opposite of Ja’Marr Chase and Justin Jefferson. He should fit in nicely with DJ Moore and Robby Anderson.
I think BYU offensive tackle has the potential to be a starter down the line for the Panthers. I could definitely see him replace the franchise-tagged Taylor Moton in 2022.
Tommy Tremble was primarily a blocking tight end at Notre Dame. There aren’t any world beaters in front of him on the depth chart if Carolina sees more in him.
Chuba Hubbard wasn’t the same back in 2020 as he was in 2019. If he can regain that 2019 form, Hubbard could see significant carries as a rookie.
Daviyon Nixon slid down the board due to some off-field concerns. His on-field play should see him contribute significantly with their interior rotation.
Keith Taylor had a good week at the Senior Bowl. However, his pro day testing left something to be desired. He will have to beat out a few holdovers to get that last spot in the DB room.
Can Shi Smith beat out guys like David Moore, Brandon Zylstra, and a couple of former Temple Owls? Is he better than all of those players? I think the answer to both is yes. Smith was THE passing game for South Carolina in 2020. He is best in the slot where he can be a dominant route runner with his quick feet and speed.
Alabama guard Deonte Brown tested like he was stuck in quicksand. On tape, however, Brown looked like an NFL starting guard. He may eventually get that chance with the Panthers.
I am on team never draft a long snapper. If you are going to draft one you should at least draft one that never screwed up a snap in his career like Thomas Fletcher.
Phil Hoskins is the only player drafted in the 2021 draft class that I did not have a tape grade on.
The Panthers signed the following undrafted free agents:
Mason Stokke, FB, Wisconsin
Paddy Fisher, LB, Northwestern
David Moore, IOL, Grambling
Oscar Draguicevich, P, Washington State
Spencer Brown, RB, UAB
Peyton Ramsey, QB, Northwestern
Next up we will look at the New England Patriots!