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Panthers Set Record After Using All 7 2020 NFL Draft Picks on Defense

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorApril 26, 2020

TAMPA, FLORIDA - JANUARY 01: Derrick Brown #5 of the Auburn Tigers looks on during the 2020 Outback Bowl against the Minnesota Golden Gophers at Raymond James Stadium on January 01, 2020 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

NFL draft records and firsts were commonplace this year, and the Carolina Panthers added to that list after using all seven of their picks on defensive players.

Per ESPN Stats & Information (h/t ESPN's David Newton), the seven selections marked the most in the common draft era to be used solely on defense.

That record doesn't stand alone for both sides of the ball, however, as the Cleveland Browns utilized their seven selections on offense in 1985.

Carolina took Auburn defensive lineman Derrick Brown (No. 7 overall), Penn State defensive end Yetur Gross-Matos (No. 38), Southern Illinois safety Jeremy Chinn (No. 64), Notre Dame cornerback Troy Pride Jr. (No. 113), West Virginia safety Kenny Robinson (No. 152), Baylor defensive tackle Bravvion Roy (No. 184) and Florida International cornerback Stantley Thomas-Oliver (No. 221).

The Panthers primarily focused on offensive additions prior to the draft, inking former New Orleans Saints quarterback Teddy Bridgewater to a three-year deal and extending running back Christian McCaffrey with a four-year, $64 million pact. Carolina also traded guard Trai Turner to the Los Angeles Chargers for tackle Russell Okung and picked up ex-New York Jets wideout Robby Anderson in free agency.

Panthers general manager Marty Hurney and new head coach Matt Rhule clearly focused on defense during the draft, however, which was needed after allowing the second-most points in the league last year.

Carolina also needed to add personnel to better fit its 4-3 defense, which marks a schematic switch from its 3-4 the year prior.

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The Panthers' poor defensive performance happened despite the presence of five-time All-Pro linebacker Luke Kuechly, who retired after eight seasons.

But now the Panthers are embarking on a brand new era after releasing 2015 NFL MVP-winning quarterback Cam Newton and firing head coach Ron Rivera. That process involves loading up on young defensive talent as the Panthers look to return to the playoffs for the first time in three years.   

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