Mel Kiper's First-Round Projection for Panthers is a Steal

Jason Schandl
Mel Kiper's projection for the Panthers' first-round pick would give Carolina a steal in Round 1.
Mel Kiper's projection for the Panthers' first-round pick would give Carolina a steal in Round 1. / Michael Hickey/Getty Images

ESPN NFL Draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. released the third iteration of his 2020 mock draft this week, projecting the entire first round less than one month out from the beginning of Round 1, on April 23rd.

Carolina Panthers fans have to be excited about his projection, as landing Derrick Brown at No. 7 overall would be a steal at a much-needed position.

Any way you look at it, run defense is among the Panthers' biggest needs. They finished dead last in Football Outsiders' run defense DVOA metric in 2019, getting shredded for a league high 5.2 yards per attempt. And that was before Luke Keuchly announced his retirement.

Carolina's big free agent signings have come on the offensive side of the ball, and they will need to address their run defense in the draft. No player is better suited to provide a boost in that area than Auburn's Derrick Brown.

A 6-foot-5, 326-pound force on the inside, Brown was a terror in the SEC, recording a total of 31.5 tackles for loss over his final three seasons with the Tigers, and over his collegiate career 19.4 percent of his total tackles came behind the line of scrimmage.

A run-stuffing tackle doesn't tend to carry as much draft value as a top QB or edge rusher, so being widely considered a top-10 pick really speaks to how dominant Brown is. For the Panthers, who need a run defender more than anything else, he would be a total steal with the No. 7 pick.

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Jason Schandl is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Jason Schandl also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username Jaymun. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.