The Panthers found an edge defender, in Oregon DE/LB DJ Johnson.
The Panthers traded up from 93 overall to 80 in the 3rd round of the 2023 NFL Draft, and they did so to address a need on the edge. He has played tight end, defensive line, and linebacker in his collegiate career and settled on outside linebacker/edge for Oregon in 2021. He stayed there in 2022, and logged 6 sacks, 39 tackles, 8.5 tackles for a loss, and 2 pass breakups.
DJ Johnson is the kind of versatile athlete that seems to be a consistent theme in Scott Fitterer’s philosophy when drafting defensive players. The Panthers currently have a big need opposite Brian Burns for an outside linebacker in Ejiro Evero’s new look 3-4 defense, as only Marquis Haynes and Yetur Gross-Matos look to man there. DJ Johnson could see a role very quickly in this defense as a result, and the Panthers clearly traded up to get their man. The Panthers gave away picks number 93 and 132 to jump up.
The Panthers top remaining draft needs:
LB, CB, DL
The Panthers picks in the 2023 NFL Draft:
- Round 1 (1) Bryce Young
- Round 2 (39) Jonathan Mingo
- Round 3 (80) D.J. Johnson
- Round 4 (114)
- Round 5 (145)