Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera said during the team’s pre-draft press conference last week that they’re not done adding playmakers. They made their move on Day 3 of the NFL Draft.
The Panthers selected Florida running back Jordan Scarlett with the No. 154 overall pick Saturday, making good on an offseason vow to provide offensive coordinator Norv Turner with as many tools as possible.
Shortly after, general manager Marty Hurney traded back in the sixth round, sending the No. 187 overall pick to the Denver Broncos in exchange for the No. 212 pick and a seventh-round selection (No. 237 overall).
Who says the draft’s final rounds aren’t eventful?
Round 5, No. 154: Jordan Scarlett, RB, Florida
Never asked to be a workhorse at Florida, Scarlett recorded a respectable 1,846 yards and 12 touchdowns on 344 carries in his three seasons. A decent showing at the NFL combine — in which Scarlett registered the third-fastest 40-yard dash time (4.47 seconds) and 10th-most bench press reps (21) — highlighted his strength and straight-line speed.
However, his suspensions at Florida for misdemeanor marijuana possession as a freshman and credit card fraud as a junior may have sent him tumbling down some teams’ draft boards. Scarlett said he was forthcoming with teams during the draft process about the decisions he made and called it a learning experience.
“Definitely won’t happen again,” he said Saturday.
On the field, the 5-foot-11, 208-pound Scarlett doesn’t exactly match the description Rivera provided for the Panthers’ ideal complement to Christian McCaffrey. Rivera said the team would likely be interested in a back who shared the same traits as McCaffrey, but Scarlett described himself as more of a between-the-tackles power back. He does, however, offer value as a pass blocker as Carolina tries to limit the reps McCaffrey plays when he’s not getting the ball.
Hurney complimented Scarlett’s ability to break tackles, along with the maturation he showed during his yearlong suspension in 2017, during which Hurney said Scarlett tirelessly worked to build his trust and reputation back with the university and football program.
Round 6, No. 212: Dennis Daley, OT, South Carolina
If nothing else, Dennis Daley is battle-tested.
A two-year starter at South Carolina, Daley faced some of the top pass-rushers in the NFL Draft, including top-10 overall picks Clelin Ferrell and Josh Allen — although Allen lit him up for four tackles for a loss and three sacks in 2018. Daley told local media Saturday he learned from the experience and was inspired to improve afterward.
“Going against Josh Allen really opened my eyes,” Daley said, “and told me I need to step my game up.”
Daley isn’t a perfect prospect, but he is a mountain of a person (6-foot 5, 317 pounds) and shouldn’t face much pressure to make an immediate on-field impact. Hurney called second-round pick Greg Little the team’s left tackle of the future, and considering Taylor Moton is their long-term option on the right side, Daley projects as an organizational depth piece.
Round 7, No. 237: Terry Godwin, WR, Georgia
The Panthers made Terry Godwin the third Georgia wide receiver drafted this year as Turner gets another cog in his offense.
While slender even for a wide receiver, Godwin runs crisp, fluid routes and showed the ability to get open quickly out of the slot. His 4.55-second 40-yard dash, 36.5-inch vertical and 6.96-second three-cone drill time were middle-of-the-pack among wide receivers at the NFL combine, but his route-running and field vision stood out at Georgia.
Godwin (5-foot-11, 184 pounds) joins a wide receiver room with equal parts youth (D.J. Moore, Curtis Samuel) and veteran leadership (Torrey Smith, Jarius Wright, Chris Hogan). Rivera praised Godwin’s ability in the open field, calling him a “dynamic player with the ball in his hands.” Rivera also said Godwin would get a look at returner, as well.
This was actually Godwin’s second time being drafted — the first coming in 2015, when the Atlanta Braves selected him in the 33rd round of the 2015 Major League Baseball amateur draft. Godwin said football is his first love, however, which made the choice to play at Georgia an easy one.