Carolina Panthers beef up the trenches with Jaden Crumedy at No. 200

The Carolina Panthers took Chau Smith-Wade with the No. 157 overall selection in the 2024 NFL Draft. It’s always a long wait in the later rounds, but they were on the clock once again at No. 200 just as fan fatigue was firmly setting in.

Looking at sixth-rounders drafted by the Panthers in recent years, it’s not pretty. Of the last seven, only two – Cade Mays and Amare Barno – are still on the team. Not being able to find role players in the later rounds was one of many catalysts behind Scott Fitterer’s demise despite his previous accomplishments in college scouting with the Seattle Seahawks.

Fortunately for new general manager Dan Morgan, he’s got a purpose in terms of the sort of prospect he’s looking for. Unlike his predecessor, he’s sticking to it despite the obvious chaos unfolding around the league. Whether it has the desired effect is another matter.

The Panthers spent their penultimate pick on Jaden Crumedy at No. 200 overall. The defensive lineman out of Mississippi State comes with some enticing traits that could potentially be molded into something more. But as is the case with most prospects taken on Day 3, there are a few concerns that must be alleviated before Carolina’s coaching staff can feel confident about getting him heavily involved.

Crumedy has the size and length typically associated with an NFL defensive lineman. He’s explosive off the block and operates with heavy hands capable of shedding blockers once early momentum is generated. There’s also a lot to like about his body control, which won’t go unnoticed by Ejiro Evero once he begins working with the player.

There is some rawness to his technique that must be coached out of him. Crumedy isn’t the most fluid mover laterally and can also be too tentative given the physical attributes at his disposal. But all this seems fixable.

There is just one more selection for the Panthers, which is their seventh-rounder swapped with the Pittsburgh Steelers from the trade that landed them wide receiver Diontae Johnson. After that, a frantic few hours await as Carolina gets busy in the undrafted free agent market to further strengthen their options and potentially see one or two emerge onto the 53-man roster.

One couldn’t accuse Morgan of not being thorough throughout his first draft as general manager. The transactions were plentiful – especially on Day 2 – and it was nice to see the Panthers have cohesion and alignment where every opinion mattered for once.

Taking a calculated risk on Crumedy with their sixth-rounder is a reflection of that. There’s genuine conviction in every prospect after comprehensive research. Hopefully, the former Bulldogs star can far exceed expectations and make Morgan look like a genius along the way.

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