football-player football-score football-helmet football-ball Accuracy Arm-Strength Balance Ball-Security Ball-Skills Big-Play-Ability Block-Deconstruction Competitive-Toughness Core-Functional-Strength Decision-Making Discipline Durability Effort-Motor Elusivness Explosiveness Football-IQ Footwork Functional-Athleticism Hand-Counters Hand-Power Hand-Technique Hands Lateral-Mobility Leadership Length Mechanics Mobility Pass-Coverage-Ability Pass-Protection Pass-Sets Passing-Down-Skills Pocket-Manipulation Poise Power-at-POA Progressions RAC-Ability Range Release-Package Release Route-Running Run-Defending Separation Special-Teams-Ability-1 Versatility Vision Zone-Coverage-Skills Anchor-Ability Contact-Balance Man-Coverage-Skills Tackling Lifted Logic Web Design in Kansas City clock location phone email play chevron-down chevron-left chevron-right chevron-up facebook tiktok checkbox checkbox-checked radio radio-selected instagram google plus pinterest twitter youtube send linkedin search arrow-circle bell left-arrow right-arrow tdn-mark filled-play-circle yellow-arrow-circle dark-arrow-circle star cloudy snowy rainy sunny plus minus triangle-down link close drag minus-circle plus-circle pencil premium trash lock simple-trash simple-pencil eye cart
NFL Draft

Carolina Panthers 2020 NFL Draft Class Recap

  • The Draft Network
  • April 26, 2020
  • Share

The first draft in the Matt Rhule era of Carolina football laid the foundation for what he hopes to build moving forward. 

Rhule inked a record-setting seven-year contract this offseason to bring the Panthers to a point where winning is consistent, something the franchise has never enjoyed; they are coming off three losing seasons in the last four years. 

Let’s examine the draft class the Panthers were able to assemble. 

Carolina's 2020 draft picks:

Best Pick: Yetur Gross-Matos

Pass rush is at a premium in the NFL, and Gross-Matos has exciting potential to apply heat on quarterbacks. Gross-Matos boasts a toolbox loaded with top physical traits and was a dynamic defensive playmaker at Penn State over the last two seasons. He recorded 34.5 tackles for loss and 17 sacks. 

Gross-Matos has a first-round skill set but fell to the early second round to the delight of the Panthers. While he isn’t a finished product and needs to develop more consistency with his processing speed to maximize his potential, Carolina is the perfect landing spot for him to develop and reach his ceiling. 

Biggest Surprise: No Offensive Players Picked 

There’s no denying the Panthers had massive needs on the defensive side of the ball, but it’s not like the offense was perfectly set and it wasn’t unreasonable to think a pick or two couldn’t have been used to add talent there. Carolina has question marks on the offensive line and could have used a young weapon in the passing game at either wide receiver or tight end for coordinator Joe Brady’s spread offense. 

The decision to not draft an offensive player has to be intentional. Perhaps the unusual offseason steered Carolina away from offensive players given the timing component of acclimating new pieces and the Panthers believe the best way to get meaningful contributions from their rookie class was by exclusively picking defensive prospects. With a new scheme and quarterback set to be implemented, getting rookies up to speed offensively would have been challenging. 

Day 3 Sleeper: Kenny Robinson

Robinson took an unusual path to the NFL. He started out at West Virginia and became an All-Big 12 defender before bolting for the XFL after academic fraud came to light. With only a few games played into the XFL season before it was canceled, Robinson didn’t have a full season to showcase his talents but his flashes were exciting, just like they were at West Virginia. 

Robinson has elite ball skills, terrific range, good size and plays a physical brand of football. From that standpoint alone, he has a chance to be an outstanding starter in the NFL. The big concern is cleaning up his tackling technique and being more consistent in his coverage responsibilities and avoiding so much freelancing. Defensive coordinator Phil Snow’s used a base 3-3-5 alignment at Baylor which could create some early opportunities to see the field and showcase his playmaking skills. 

X-Factor: Jeremy Chinn

Some were disappointed to see Carolina pass on Isaiah Simmons at No. 7; but Chinn is cut from the same cloth in terms of size, athleticism and versatility. 

Chinn has the upside to fill the role of a positionless defender that is a matchup-specific defender. Whether it’s playing man coverage over bigger slot receivers and flexed tight ends, shooting gaps, mirroring running backs or serving as a spy to an athletic quarterback, Chinn has the traits to excel. 

He is an X-factor of a defender in every way imaginable. Chinn has the type of versatility to serve as a matchup-neutralizer and rare defensive chess piece to take away the pace and spacing elements of today’s NFL offenses. 

Summary

Carolina put together one of my favorite draft classes of any team in the league. While only the defense was addressed, the Panthers got terrific value for each of their selections and secured talent that is capable of filling critical roles for the team. It wouldn’t be of any surprise to look back at this class in three or four years and find that Carolina found five or six meaningful pieces and a couple of difference makers. If that proves to be the case, that is drafting well done.

Filed In

Written By

The Draft Network