Panthers end second round by drafting Salukis' Chinn

CRAIG HALEY (Stats Perform FCS Senior Editor=)
The Associated Press

(Stats Perform) - Consider the potential value of new Carolina Panthers strong safety Jeremy Chinn this way:

He drew comparisons to linebacker Isaiah Simmons in advance of the NFL Draft.

Simmons was the eighth overall pick, going in the first round to the Arizona Cardinals Thursday night. The Panthers landed Chinn with the final pick of the second round - No. 64 overall - Friday night.

To get Chinn, the Panthers traded up with the Seattle Seahawks, dealing the No. 69 and 148 picks.

Scouts believe the 6-foot-3, 221-pound Chinn can be used as a big nickel or cover linebacker in addition to safety. The 2019 first-team FCS All-American became the fourth-highest pick in Southern Illinois history and the Salukis' first since the Minnesota Vikings took tight end MyCole Pruitt in the fifth round in 2015.

"To be honest, it doesn't really matter to me if go in the first round, or go undrafted." Chinn told CBSSports.com. "At end of the day you have to prove yourself on the football field, and that's what I'm looking forward to doing. Just to get to that level and compete and show what I can do. I can't wait for that opportunity."

Chinn - this year's first FCS selection out of the FCS - is an athletic, physical ball hawk, both as a tackler (243 career stops) and disrupter (13 interceptions, 18 pass breakups, six forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries). He impressed with his range and cover skills at the Reese's Senior Bowl and followed up with terrific test results at the NFL Combine, including a 4.45-second 40-yard dash, 41-inch vertical and 11-foot-6 broad jump.

"He's kind of a positionless player for us right now. Not because he doesn't have a position, but because we can utilize him in multiple places," first-year Panthers coach Matt Rhule said.

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