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An Eye on the Enemy: Panthers Final Day Selections

4.1 Indiana TE Ian Thomas

Ian Thomas is a great talent at tight end. He won’t be an immediate impact unless Greg Olsen goes down for more time this season. However, he’ll be an impact player in time. It’s a good thing that we beefed up the second level and have improved in tight end coverage, because this guy can become a hand full. My impact rating for now, though while he’s learning: 6/10. Expect that to go up as he figures out his system though. Fingers crossed it’s not soon.

4.36 Ole Miss EDGE Marquis Haynes

Haynes is a productive talent and has a great nose for the ball in the backfield. He has 32 sacks and 47.5 tackles for a loss over his time at Ole Miss. He’s a bit of a tweener, teams aren’t sure whether to play him as a defensive end of OLB, but either way, he’ll find a way to affect the game. He’ll get the chance to learn from Julius Peppers who faced much the same criticism and then turned it into his game. Thankfully we’ve got a pretty nice offensive line put together for this one, but he might give us fits on the outside runs with his quickness. 6/10

5.24 Maryland ILB Jermaine Carter, Jr.

With this pick, the Panthers also pick an undrafted talent in the mid-late rounds of the draft. Carter was on the Bednarik Award watchlist and is a durable player, having started 37 straight games in Maryland. He brought in over 100 tackles in his second and third seasons and 90 his final one. He’ll be able to sit back for a few years and learn behind all-pro Luke Keuchley. Had 29.5 tackles for as loss and 9.5 sacks as a Terrapin. Was named the team’s Defensive Player of the Year award and a coupe of honorable mention conference awards over his career. He’s a little undersized and takes a while to diagnose plays, which are things he’s sure to work out before he sees full-on playing time. For now, though 3/10 in terms of impact.

7.16 North Carolina LB Andre Smith

UNC’s Andre Smith is a big dude. Only 6-foot tall but had a big frame at 237 pounds. with arms just over 33″ long. He’s a great run defender and loves to make contact. He’s a sound tackler at that. So he’s happy to come in and knock your block off, but will settle for making the fundamental stop. He’s an effective communicator and can be aggressive. Unfortunately for him, though he falls victim to what many young players do and overuses his aggressive approach to a point in which he can take himself out of a play or get fools on a play fake. His 2017 season ended with a knee injury but he’s definitely a linebacker that deserves a chance to play for some regular season play time throughout training camp. That kind of drive and attacking play style belongs on the field. 3/10 here. If he finds his way on the field during run plays, he might be a problem, but if he gets caught up in our passing offense, he’s toast.

7.24 Miami DT Kendrick Norton

Norton is a big prospect at 6’2″ 312 pounds, but was a bit of a let down this season. He’s powerful and athletic but not much of a pass rusher at all. He’s a great plugger int he middle in the run game, though. Lacks flexibility but makes up for it with leverage and effort. Will sit back and learn for a bit but he’s a bit more developed than I think people are giving him credit for. Hard to say he’s much of a concern at the moment though. 5/10