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2019 NFC South draft review: Carolina Panthers

An overview of the Carolina Panthers’ 2019 draft class:
Round 1, No. 16 overall: Brian Burns, DE, Florida State
Round 2, No. 37 overall: Greg Little, OT, Ole Miss
Round 3, No. 100 overall: Will Grier, QB, West Virginia
Round 4, No. 115 overall: Christian Miller, LB, Alabama
Round 5, No. 154 overall: Jordan Scarlett, RB, Florida
Round 6, No. 212 overall: Dennis Daley, T, South Carolina
Round 7, No. 237 overall: Terry Godwin, WR, Georgia

The Panthers finished the 2018 season ranked 27th in sacks. Looking to apply greater pressure on opposing quarterbacks in 2019, Carolina used its first round pick to select Brian Burns, a 6-foot-5, 249-pound All-American defensive end out of Florida State who ranked eighth in the NCAA in sacks in 2018. After drafting Burns, Carolina traded Round 2 (47 overall) and Round 3 (77) picks to Seattle for a Round 2 (37) selection, which they used to select offensive tackle Greg Little out of Ole Miss. In total, five of the seven players drafted by the Panthers competed collegiately in the Southeastern Conference.

During Burns’ career at Florida State, he appeared in 38 games with 25 starts and recorded 124 tackles, including 39.5 for loss with 24.0 sacks, seven forced fumbles, seven pass breakups, three blocked kicks and two fumble recoveries. His 24.0 career sacks ranks fifth in school history. Burns was named first-team All-ACC, fourth-team All-American by Phil Steele, Bednarik Award semifinalist, also earning Team MVP and Defensive MVP honors in 2018. Burns’ versatility gives the Panthers options to find the right fit for the pass rusher in their scheme. Coach Ron Rivera and his staff are considering shifting their scheme from a 4-3 to a 3-4 look in an effort to generate more quarterback pressure in an increasingly pass-happy league, according to Joseph Person of The Athletic.

Formerly a 5-star recruit and Under Armor All-American coming out of high school, Greg Little earned All-SEC first-team and All-America second-team honors in 2018. The 6-foot-6, 325-pound offensive tackle started all 12 games at left tackle and pass protected for the Ole Miss offense that led the SEC and finished fifth in the nation in passing offense last season. Little looks to provide time in the pocket for quarterback Cam Newton.

The Panthers selected West Virginia quarterback Will Grier with the 100th overall selection. Grier started his career at the University of Florida, but after testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs in 2015, he faced a year-long suspension which ultimately lead to his transfer to the Mountaineers. The 6-foot-2, 223-pound passer finished fourth in voting for the 2018 Heisman Trophy. Grier holds a school record with 300 or more passing yards in 19 of his 22 games at West Virginia, while finishing No. 2 in school record books with seventy-one touchdown passes. Grier will have an opportunity to compete for Cam Newton’s backup position.

Christian Miller was the sixth of 10 Alabama players to hear their names called in this year’s draft. The 6-4, 244-pound linebacker totaled 36 tackles, including 11.5 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks with a team-high-tying 12 quarterback hurries, He also contributed one pass breakup and a fumble recovery in his senior season after missing 10 games during his junior campaign with an arm injury. Miller is the second pass rusher drafted by Carolina, joining first-rounder Brian Burns.

After finishing his collegiate career with 1,846 rushing yards, 344 carries and 12 touchdowns in 35 games played, Florida running back Jordan Scarlett was selected with the 16th pick in the fifth round. The former high school track star stands 5-11, 210-pounds. He will have a chance to learn behind the likes of Christian McCaffrey and Cameron Artis-Payne.

South Carolina offensive tackle Dennis Daley heard his name called with the 187th overall selection. The 6-6, 324-pound lineman protects the blind side of the quarterback. Daley worked his way into a starting role with the Gamecocks during the 2018 season.

With their final selection in the 2019 draft, the Panthers selected Terry Godwin out of Georgia with the 23rd pick in seventh round. Godwin finished with 133 career receptions, which ranks 11th on Georgia's all-time list and his 1,788 career receiving yards rank 13th on the school's all-time list. He also has the ability to return kicks, recording a 43-yard long return in his time at Georgia.

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