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One More Thing: Get to know the Panthers draft picks with these interesting facts


CHARLOTTE – The 2024 Carolina Panthers draft is now in the rearview, with seven new players joining the roster over the last weekend (and quite a few more undrafted free agents over the next few weeks).

And while the photo galleries and press conferences and articles have been flying fast and furiously, there might be some tidbits that you have missed in the whirlwind.

Cowboy Who Catches

Xavier Legette, Round 1, Pick 32,

Not only is the Mullins, S.C., native one of the most explosive receivers in this draft class and a high school multi-hyphenate in football, basketball and football, the University of South Carolina grad is also a country boy at heart.

As Legette explains it, he's been riding horses "ever since [he] was a little boy," and has the boots and hat to prove it.

That's not to mention hunting invasive animals like feral hogs or racoons. It's a hobby he picked up from his late father and uncle.

"We do everything on the wild actually, so I do a little bit of everything," he said.

The Stars Are Big and Bright in Texas

Jonathon Brooks, Round 2, Pick 46

Brooks, who is coming off a November ACL tear, expects to be ready by training camp. As he enters the league, he has a lineage of Texas backs to draw inspiration from; guys like Jamaal Charles, Earl Campbell, and more recently, Bijan Robinson.

"Really just watching them while I was there, watching the history of running backs, that's why I went to Texas because of the history of running backs they produce. They got me right. I appreciate it all. Even the old dudes come back, and they are around the facility, around the game and they just have a lot of good feedback."

Brooks was able to play with Robinson, spending his first two years behind the eventual Top-10 draft pick. Brooks spent the time soaking up as much as he could from his teammate.

"You know, I've tried to model my game after, it kind of sounds biased, but Bijan (Robinson). Just being behind him for two years and seeing how much of a great athlete he is and seeing what he did at the next level. I've tried to perfect myself after him because he makes people miss, he's fast, he catches the ball, he can do a lot of things."

Texas running back Jonathon Brooks (24) dives over the goal line scoring a touchdown in the second half of an NCAA college football game against Oklahoma at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Saturday, Oct. 8, 2022. Texas won 49-0. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

A Golden Path to the NFL

Trevin Wallace, Round 3, Pick 72

Wallace made a reputation at Kentucky as a finisher, someone who wasn't scared to drive someone into the ground. It's a work ethic that was born from his shifts at the Golden Arches, working for his mom, who expected the best.

"When I worked there, my mother was a general manager. I did everything from cashier, to window, to the table, to the grill," Wallace said. "It'd be days where like high school games and we get over about 11:00. She's like, 'All right, come to work at 5:00 in the morning.' I'm like, 'Mom, I just got done with a game.' And she's always telling me like, 'Hey, the world isn't going to slow down on you. So, you better get some money in your pocket while you can.'"

In addition to McDonalds, Wallace also worked construction with his grandfather. It made for long days but created a foundation that helped carry Wallace to the NFL.

"So, I was like, 'Ok.' So just doing that every time and I used to be tired of it, but hey, when you were 16 years old and got your own money, you can buy what you want. Hey, that's a win-win to me."

The Gridiron Hooper

Ja'Tavion Sanders, Round 4, Pick 101

While at Texas, Sanders developed a reputation as being one of the best pass-catching tight ends in college football. His ability to become not only a dependable receiver, but also someone able to pick up chunks of yardage. He credits a lot of what he does on the field to things he learned on the court.

"I've always been fully committed to football since I started playing the sport. Basketball is just something to do on the side so I wouldn't get bored in the summer," Sanders said. "I always wanted to stay active. Basketball definitely just helped me with my lateral movement and especially my footwork, being able to slide my feet and just getting in and out of my brakes and running routes."

A New Beginning At the Senior Bowl

Chau Smith-Wade, Round 5, Pick 157

The Washington State corner shot up draft boards after a dominating performance at the Senior Bowl in late January. The production was doubly impressive when considering it was the first time Smith-Wade had played a slot DB, and he used the week under the tutelage of NFL coaches to soak up all he could about the position.

"It helped me a lot," Smith-Wade said of the experience. "One, because going into the Senior Bowl, I never played nickel. I never played a nickel down. So being able to go to the Senior Bowl and get my feet wet and practically learn nickel in three days and grow and take that week to be a developmental week, it was everything for me. I know for sure that it helped me just because I heard a lot from scouts, I heard a lot from a lot of different coaches. It was definitely a big jump for me going to the Senior Bowl."

Despite never having played nickel, Smith-Wade said a lot of coaches, beginning at the Senior Bowl, expressed an interest in putting him there due to his size. He is 5'10", 184 pounds.

"My size is perfect for nickel, which is why I can see myself being a nickel. My lateral quickness, just the talents that I do have from an athletic standpoint. My quickness, my will to improve, one, and able to see different patterns and route concepts. I would say that about the nickel part."

A Purveyor of Degrees

Jaden Crumedy, Round 6, Pick 200

Crumedy was the recipient of a COVID year and redshirt year at Mississippi State, meaning he played six years for the Bulldogs. While in Starkville, he used that time to obtain not only an undergraduate degree, but a graduate degree as well.

"I graduated with industrial technology and then I got my masters in workforce leadership and just to help people out or be able to coach and teach or anything like that if I want to. But mainly, graduating with industrial technology, I want to go into doing welding, especially like when I'm done football. I want to be able to have my own business and just go off of that."

The Toughest of the Tough

Michael Barrett, Round 7, Pick 240

Last, but not least, came Michael Barrett. The Panthers seventh-round pick was a huge factor in the Michigan Wolverines record setting defense, in route to a National Championship. Jim Harbaugh demands absolute toughness in his group, something that Barrett came to exemplify more than anyone else on the roster. So much so, his fellow teammates voted him the toughest. The biggest example they had of the mindset was when Barrett broke his facemask in a game.

"Coach Harbaugh keeps it as a trophy," Barrett said of the broken piece. "I wanted to keep it myself, but he has a helmet of mine with like a face mask broken. And that just brings me back to the game against Maryland. I broke my face mask. I kind of messed up my shoulder. I had an AC sprain that game. And I finished that game, like I didn't come out during the game. I mean that's kind of one of the first things that comes to mind.

"I want to say it was like a short pass across the middle or like a screen across the middle and everybody kind of was closing in at the same time and I was coming with bad intentions and everybody kind of got to the party at the same time and I was on different timing than everybody else. I didn't even really realize it was broken until I got up. And I'm like, I can't really see. I had a visor on. My visor was all messed up. My face mask was crooked. I'm like, I literally can't see right now and I had to come out for like a play to get it fixed.

"Just coming into contact with bad intentions, man. That's the goal anytime somebody got the football in their hands."

Take a closer look at all seven new Panthers draftees from first-rounder Xavier Legette to seventh-rounder Michael Barrett from their stellar collegiate runs.

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