CHARLOTTE – Jeremy Chinn is listed as a safety. That's what his official position was at Southern Illinois before the Panthers traded up to pick him in the second round of this year's NFL Draft.
But given the multiple roles he can play on defense, Chinn doesn't have just one label.
"I wouldn't even give myself a position," Chinn said. "I think I'm just a defensive weapon. I think I'm just a threat."
Since Carolina hasn't gone through an on-field practice to this point, it's hard to know where Chinn will line up in coordinator Phil Snow's defensive scheme. But earlier this month, Snow acknowledged, "There are multiple things that we can do with him."
"It's hard to find a guy his size and that fast," Snow added. "He can do a lot of different things for us that maybe some other players can't."
To that end, Chinn sat in with different position groups during the virtual offseason program, getting a feel for the defense's multiple levels.
"They've showed me that they want me doing a lot," Chinn said. "Just from meetings with me going back and forth between different positions and learning so many positions, and learning what guys are doing all around me from the D-line, to the backend, to the corners, and everything.
"So I think prioritizing my knowledge as far as what everyone is doing, I think that'll open up a lot of positions for me that I'll actually be able to play."
Plus, Chinn said the defensive structure is similar to what he played in college, making for a smoother transition in understanding the scheme. But the terminology is different, and Chinn has been working on mastering it.
"That's something I picked up on really fast," he said. "As we talk every single day, things just continue to get better and better."
Having veterans around in the virtual meetings also helped Chinn better understand things.
"Just listening to them in meetings and listening to how they ask questions, it helps me look at football from a bigger picture," Chinn said.
"We have tags and checks that we go into a game with, and actually understanding why we use these checks, and using them to our advantage and not just calling them because they're available to be called (is important)."
With all club facilities closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Chinn participated in the virtual offseason program from his family home outside Indianapolis. He got into a routine of working out twice a day on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays — once in the morning and then again in the evenings following meetings — but kept it to one workout on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
That training is a significant deviation from what he was doing to prepare for the Combine in February.
"I was doing a lot of speed-specific things and really just working on testing," Chinn said. "Now, it's a lot more conditioning, just getting in football shape and not just in testing shape."
There are at least three weeks until Chinn and the rest of the Panthers' rookies are scheduled to report to Charlotte. And that would provide Chinn with another special moment in what's already been a very unusual first season.
"I was thinking about it the other day — when I got drafted, it was a surreal feeling. But nothing really changed as far as still living at home," Chinn said. "I think when I actually move down to Charlotte, it'll probably feel like I got drafted all over again because it'll actually come full circle and I'll settle in."
View photos of Carolina's second-round draft pick, safety Jeremy Chinn, out of Southern Illinois.