Last night, Carolina decided to double down on their 1st round pick of Derrick Brown to add even more power and disruption to their defensive Line, selecting edge rusher Yetur Gross-Matos from Penn State with the 38th overall pick.
As a player who many believed would sneak into the late 1st, this pick offers a lot of value with the Panthers even admitting themselves they didn’t think Matos would be there for them at that stage of the draft.
Standing at 6’5 with a 34 7/8″ arm and 82 3/8″ wingspan, he offers elite length and size that was overall lacking in what has been perceived as a pretty mediocre class of edge rushers. Pairing him with last years 16th overall pick Brian Burns now gives the team a young pass rush that has the potential to grow into something really special, and with Derrick Brown and KK Short on the inside they can start to feel really good about their defensive front – a unit that struggled last season despite misleading sack numbers.
In his final 2 years at Penn State, Yetur racked up 17 sacks as well as a mightily impressive 34.5 tackles for loss, something that bodes well to help improve Carolina’s run defense that managed to break records for being so bad last year.
Now that its in the books, it is clear to see what the Panthers plan was early in this draft. Despite the progressive thought in the NFL being drafting guys who can cover over guys that play up front – Carolina has stood by the old school mantra of building a Defensive front to back, jamming the run and getting in the face of the Quarterback.
Whilst opinions on that philosophy are mixed, it can’t be denied that the Panthers picked up two very, very good football players who will contribute big to rebuilding a defense that has undoubtedly lost its way in the last couple of years.
Going into day 3 it is clear the team will need to draft some corner help – this position being without question now the weakest on the roster.
In terms of targets for Carolina today? Keep your eye on Bryce Hall, the cornerback out of UVA who is likely the best remaining player on the board at the position and would be a great add to the team.