Before the entire league descends on Indianapolis next week for the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine, NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah partook in a conference call with media members to preview the event.
And as far as the Panthers are concerned, Jeremiah expects the team to pick up a few "foundational pieces" to help head coach Matt Rhule build the Panthers' new identity.
"I think you're going to see guys with physicality and toughness," Jeremiah said. "I would expect it'll be in his image, which is tough, physical and fast."
Jeremiah said he foresees a building process similar to the ones Rhule conducted at Temple and Baylor, with some time needed to establish culture. And Rhule has shown what he can do when given the time to develop and implement a plan.
"He doesn't try to bake it in the microwave, he takes his time and does it the right way," Jeremiah said of Rhule. "He's eventually going to get all the people that fit in that building and that's from a staffing standpoint to a playing standpoint, and I think they'll have sustained success. I was happy that they gave him such a long-term deal so that he can do it the way it needs to be done.
"The Carolina Panthers, I don't know that they could have made a better hire than Matt Rhule."
Jeremiah has long been an advocate of Rhule, posting on Twitter a full year before Rhule was hired by Carolina that he believed the then-Baylor coach already had the skillset to succeed in the NFL.
"Matt, he's just a leader," Jeremiah said. "If you're going to look for what you want in a head coach, you want somebody that's going to be a leader, that's going to create an environment that's very competitive, and he's going to have a football team that's tough and physical. I think when you follow him throughout his career, that's followed him."
Beyond the first round of April's draft, Jeremiah said he could see Rhule and the Panthers taking a few chances on players who may not make an immediate impact. Instead, because of Rhule's faith in his staff's ability to teach, Jeremiah said Carolina might seek out players who align with their core values and offer special athletic traits.
"If they're tough and they're fast, and maybe they're not great football players right now, they're a little bit raw, developmental," Jeremiah explained, "I know they have a lot of confidence in their group as teachers to be able to get it out of them. That's kind of the traits I would keep an eye out for (the Panthers)."