Panthers Address Multiple Needs in 4th-7th Rounds of NFL Draft
After drafting three straight players on offense to help new quarterback Sam Darnold, the Carolina Panthers continued to address multiple positions of need.
The Panthers drafted seven more college prospects, six of which represented different positions, in rounds four through seven of the 2021 NFL Draft on Saturday:
Running Back Chuba Hubbard
Defensive Tackle Daviyon Nixon
Cornerback Keith Taylor
Guard Deonte Brown
Wide Reciever Shi Smith
Long Snapper Thomas Fletcher
Defensive Tackle Phil Hoskins
Here's my analysis of my most notable picks:
Round 4, Pick 21: Chuba Hubbard, Running Back- Oklahoma State
Hubbard became the fourth-straight offensive player taken by the Panthers in the draft. At six feet, 210 pounds, Hubbard made a major impact in his time at Oklahoma State, rushing for 3,459 total yards and 33 touchdowns. The "Canadian Cowboy" had a breakout sophomore year rushing for an impressive 2,094 yards and 21 touchdowns. According to head coach Matt Rhule, his wife called him and asked for the team to pick the running back.
Round 5, Pick 14: Daviyon Nixon, Defensive Tackle- Iowa
Nixon becomes the second-straight defensive tackle taken in the last two drafts for Carolina. Derrick Brown was drafted as the seventh overall pick for the Panthers last year. In two years with the Hawkeyes, Nixon tallied 73 total tackles and 8.5 sacks. However, the Wisconsin native may be most known for his 71-yard pick-six last season against Penn State. Off the field, Nixon is also a very talented singer. With the recent departure of Kaawan Short, the Panthers add to a defensive tackle room that is in desperate need of depth.
Round 6, Pick 9: Deonte Brown, Guard- Alabama
Brown is the fourth player from the Alabama Crimson Tide to be drafted by the Panthers since linebacker Christian Miller was selected in 2019. The 6'5", 344-pound guard, an impressive run-stopper, did not allow a single sack at Alabama. Check off another box on the needs list for the Panthers.
Round 6, Pick 20: Shi Smith, Wide Reciever- South Carolina
Smith joins teammate Jaycee Horn as the second South Carolina Gamecock drafted to Carolina. In four seasons with the Gamecocks, the 5'10", 190-pound wide receiver tallied 2,204 receiving yards and 13 touchdowns. Smith played for the team coached by the Panthers coaching staff in the Senior Bowl in January, which many believe to be the reason that prompted Carolina to draft him on Saturday.
A grand total of 11 players make up the 2021 draft class for the Panthers. They traded down five times in all, four trades coming in the second night of the draft alone, which sets a franchise record.