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By now, Carolina Panthers fans know that general manager Scott Fitterer loves to work the phones on draft day. After giving up this year’s fourth-round pick and next year’s third-round pick to select Matt Corral yesterday, Carolina traded back into the fourth round to select Penn State linebacker Brandon Smith with the 120th overall selection.
To move up, the Panthers sent both of their fifth-round picks (144th and 149th overall) to the Washington Commanders for Smith and the 189th pick.
Smith was a five-star, top-20 overall recruit entering Penn State, where he contributed immediately. In 2021, the 6-foot-3, 250-pound linebacker was voted third-team all-conference after totaling 81 tackles, two sacks and five pass breakups through 12 starts. He was able to do that in no small part thanks to his incredible speed. Smith ran a 4.52-second 40-yard dash and showed outstanding athleticism as a Nittany Lion.
The Panthers needed some extra linebacker depth on Day 3 of the NFL Draft even after signing Damien Wilson and Cory Littleton in free agency. The team lost an important contributor in Jermaine Carter Jr. to Kansas City this offseason.
Following the trade, Carolina still has three more selections remaining throughout the afternoon. As of now, those will come at 189th, 199th and 242nd overall.