Panthers set franchise record for trades, players selected in 2021 draft that covered several positions

By Richard Walker

The Carolina Panthers set a franchise record for trades and tied a record for players selected in their 2021 NFL Draft.

The Panthers selected wide receiver Shi Smith of South Carolina in the sixth round during Saturday’s NFL Draft.

They also feel like they filled lots and lots of needs.

After choosing cornerback Jaycee Horn out of South Carolina on Thursday and wide receiver Terrace Marshall of LSU, offensive tackle Brady Christense of BYU and tight end Tommy Tremble of Notre Dame on Friday, head coach Matt Rhule and general manager Scott Fitterer chose seven more players on Saturday.

The 11 players picked tied for the record number of draft selections with the franchise’s first year of 1995. And the five trades – they made four on Friday and one on Saturday – set a team record previously held by the 1995 draft when four deals were made.

The Saturday additions included a running back, offensive guard and wide receiver for the offense, two tackles and a cornerback for the defense and a long snapper for the special teams.

Chuba Hubbard, a running back from Oklahoma State, was the No. 126 selection in the fourth round. A native of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, Hubbard was a two-time All-Big XII selection for the Cowboys after rushing for 6,880 yards and 82 touchdowns at Bev Facey Community High School.

Daviyon Nixon, a defensive tackle from Iowa, was the No. 158 selection in the fifth round. A native of Kenosha, Wisc., Nixon played one year at Iowa Western Community College and three years at Iowa where in 2020 he was a unanimous All-American.

Keith Taylor, a cornerback from Washington, was the No. 166 selection in the fifth round. A native of Long Beach, Cal., Taylor was a four-year starter for the Huskies.

Deonte Brown, an offensive guard from Alabama, was the No. 193 selection in the sixth round. A native of Decatur, Ala., Brown is 6-foot-4, 350 pounds and started games in each of his four seasons for the Crimson Tide.

Shi Smith, a wide receiver from South Carolina, was the No. 204 selection in the sixth round. A former Union County, S.C., High School star, Smith started games in each of his four seasons with the Gamecocks.

Thomas Fletcher, a long snapper from Alabama, was the No. 222 selection in the sixth round. A native of Georgetown, Tex., Fletcher was rated the No. 1 high school long snapper in the country in 2017 out of Bradenton, Fla., IMG Academy and he was perfect in all snapping opportunities in four seasons for the Crimson Tide.

And Phil Hoskins, a defensive tackle from Kentucky, was the No. 232 selection in the seventh round. A native of Toledo, Ohio, Hoskins played one year at Highland, Kansas, Community College before playing three seasons for the Wildcats; Hoskins missed the entire season with a right knee injury.