The Carolina Panthers made a concerted effort to better their defense in the 2020 NFL Draft, using all seven of their picks on defensive players. Following the draft, Panthers GM Marty Hurney commented on Carolina's historic all-defense draft.
“We really didn't come in with that plan,” Hurney said after it was all over, via the team's official website. “But we basically did stick to the board and the groupings and it just happened it was all seven (on) defense. I mean, we knew coming in that we wanted to help our defense — we knew that. But we didn't come in planning that all seven picks were going to be defense. It just fell that way.”
The Panthers began their draft by taking Derrick Brown with the No. 7 pick in the first round. Brown, an interior defensive lineman out of Auburn, figures to help Carolina bolster their defensive line following the departures of Gerald McCoy and Dontari Poe.
Then, in the second round, the Panthers added Yetur Gross-Matos and Jeremy Chinn. Carolina would continue the theme of improving the secondary in their next two picks, selecting Troy Pride Jr. and Kenny Robinson.
Altogether, the Panthers would select seven defensive players in the entire draft. As a result, Carolina would become the first team to ever use all of their draft picks on defensive players.
Earlier in the offseason, Carolina inked deals with Teddy Bridgewater and Robby Anderson. In addition, they acquired Russell Okung in a trade with the Los Angeles Chargers.
While they needed to strengthen the defense for next season, the Panthers never planned on using all of their draft picks on that side of the ball. Nonetheless, that is exactly what happened for Carolina as they enter a new era under Matt Rhule.